Columbus – A lesson in Leadership
Christopher Columbus – I have adored this man for various reasons at various stages of my life. At seven, I adored him because his mistakes were applauded and became part of history – Columbus mistook Native Americans for Indians because he thought he had landed in Asia rather than the Americas. While my mistakes were circled with red ink and awarded zero, I felt that was unfair – Oh Columbus, you lucky bastard! At seventeen, I adored him because he was a rebel as he went against the popular belief about the planet and sailed in the opposite direction – Oh Columbus, you non-conformist! Now that I feel I know him a little better, I adore him for setting the direction others can follow. He was not the first one to reach the Americas from Europe, although he did not know this. There are references of others achieving this feat before him. However, he was the one who sensitized Europe towards America. At present, the predominant population in the Americas is of European origin. So many people must have followed directions set forth by Columbus – Oh Columbus, you leader!
15th August – today India, the largest democracy, is celebrating its Independence day. Let us take a moment to applaud the spirit of Columbus in all of us – the explorer, the free thinker – before venturing into the integration of predictive analytics with business processes. In addition, yes, Columbus will pave the way for us to understand this integration better.
Integrating Predictive Analytics with Business Processes
Let us accept it, probability and statistics, despite being logical and right, do not come naturally to us humans. Numerous books and theses have repeatedly proven this fact*. The whole furor about the solution to the Monty Hall problem (read the article) is a testimonial to this thesis. Once we have grounded this fact, let us go back to Columbus. Like him, as an analyst, once you have explored the exotic land you want to show it to others. You want them to appreciate it and make it their home.
*Read Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow
The Ace of Advanced Analytics Success
The sole purpose of analytics is business enhancement and growth. The intellectual exercise has to translate into tangible returns. This is by no means an easy task. Let me present the ACE of integration of predictive analytics with business processes. I am feeling like a great business Guru to coin this term ACE – I know you readers are generous to let me get away with some self-indulgence. In fact, could someone tell me how to get this copyrighted? ACE stands for Accessible, Communication-&-Education, and Ease-of-Use.
Accessible: All humans are involved-creatures. We want to be part of the new. This is also true for that grumpy manager resisting change in the corner office. He wants to be part of the change. He is also ready for controlled experiments. Make him part of it. This has helped me significantly while implementation of advanced analytics solutions. The onus is with the analyst to constantly work with the concern parties. Their knowledge will only enhance the research. Yes, it is time-consuming and could also hurt your ego at times but is absolutely essential for the project’s success.
Communication-&-Education: All humans are curious creatures. We all love to get educated. Analytics projects are also about educating the decision maker about aspects of predictive analytics including pitfalls. As we have discussed, statistics is not an intuitive science. However, you will find most people more than willing to listen to you. It is about communicating your excitement for the field and the results. If they are not listening to you – try harder and be creative.
Ease-of-use: Most humans do not like unnecessary complications in their life and analytics is no exception. This is where an astute use of information technology to integrate analytics with business process is an absolute must. For example, the first versions of credit scorecards I saw were excel based standalone applications. Here, the credit underwriters were punching in the information about the borrower all over again. No wonder they hated it. It is not that difficult to integrate the underwriting application with the scorecard, where no extra effort is required for the users. The job of analytics professional is not over till he/she drives the application usage to generate business benefits.
Wow! Am feeling good after completing this seven-part series (part 1 -7) on Analytical Scorecards, trust me it is good fun writing. I know you are reading the articles because of all the positive feedback I am receiving. If you would like to write some articles on YOU CANalytics, please drop a mail on [email protected] or contact me. I’ll create an author’s account for you. Look forward to hearing back from you.
See you soon with a new topic on Analytics.