Analytics

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The Public Sector Can Teach Us a Lot About Digitizing Customer Service

Digital customer service agents (known as virtual assistants, chatbots, or softbots) are typically used to sift through and process only the most straightforward customer inquiries, such as requests for basic information. At most companies, complex issues get passed along to human agents. In that regard, public sector agencies in Australia are ahead of the curve: They are using digital agents to handle complex inquiries from citizens, and businesses stand to learn much from these applications.

Think Critically About the Wisdom of Experts

Leaders and managers must inevitably consult the analysis, advice, and research of people whose expertise exceeds their own in a variety of domains. Getting the most from that perspective means understanding precisely how to question the experts’ wisdom, no matter what form it takes. Eight specific lessons can help leaders and managers use others’ expertise to the greatest possible advantage in everyday business decisions.

New Ways to Gauge Talent and Potential

While most organizations still rely on traditional methods such as résumé screenings, job interviews, and psychometric tests to find the right people and match them with the right roles, three new approaches to talent identification are quickly gaining traction. Gamified assessments, digital interviews, and candidate data mining have the potential to make hiring more precise and less biased, as long as they’re used responsibly.

A More Profitable Approach to Product Returns

A relatively small number of purchase and return metrics can accurately predict customer profitability — and the likelihood of policy abuse. By using analytics to identify the few customers who cost the company the most money by abusing return policies before they make their next purchase, companies can prevent abusive returns, avoid PR disasters, and boost their profitability.

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Driving Operational Cost Savings With the Internet of Things

AI and IoT offer significant benefits — as yet untapped — for facilities maintenance. In most large companies, maintenance and repair is done piecemeal with tremendous inefficiency, something automated, data-centered management practices could reduce. Operations executives should take notice, because the companies that allocate resources toward putting technology to work in this area are likely to gain an important competitive advantage.

Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors, and the Power of Analytics at Work

Organizations across an increasing number of sports and levels of competition are capitalizing on data to gain a competitive edge. Indeed, few industries have implemented data-driven decision making as successfully as sports. And learnings from the sports analytics revolution are applicable to a broad range of other industries.

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Sales Gets a Machine-Learning Makeover

New advances in machine learning are allowing sales teams to manage huge amounts of data to become more effective and efficient. Our research suggests three main ways machine learning is being successfully integrated into sales processes. First, it allows for a scientific approach that clarifies opaque parts of the sales process. Second, it enables more-effective data-driven experimentation. Third, it automates administrative duties that take time away from higher-value tasks.

MIT for Managers: Goodbye Traffic Lights?

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  • Read Time: 4 min 

The next time you’re sitting at a red light, savor the moment. If researchers from MIT’s SENSEable City Lab and the Ambient Mobility Lab have their way, your hours of waiting at traffic lights could be numbered. In an article published in PLoS One, a team led by MIT’s Carlo Ratti and Paoli Santi describe a system in which automobiles and transportation infrastructure would interact though an algorithm that would manage the safe flow of cars through busy intersections.

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Building a Better Car Company With Analytics

Using data and analytics to understand the complexities of modern business has become not only common, but essential. Gahl Berkooz joined Ford Motor Co. in 2004, eventually becoming head of data and governance and a member of the company’s global data insights and analytics skill team. Berkooz became acutely aware of how important analytics is to the company’s ability to thrive in the global marketplace. “What it boils down to,” he told MIT SMR’s Michael Fitzgerald, “is that we know how to make decisions. It’s about finding the opportunities to bring data and analytics to make better decisions.”

MIT for Managers: How Insecure Is The Internet of Things?

This new blog from MIT Sloan Management Review explores ideas from different corners of the MIT community that are relevant to business executives. We will introduce you to research, people and events you might not otherwise encounter — things we hope you find useful and perhaps provocative. This week we look at gaping security holes in the Internet of Things and revisit the analytical revelations of Michael Lewis’s Moneyball.

Is It Time to Build Your Own Platform?

If you really want to create value, forget about burning platforms and start building them. A platform, explain professors Geoffrey Parker and Marshall Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Choudary, founder and CEO of Platform Thinking Labs, in Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You, is a “business model that uses technology to connect people, organizations, and resources in an interactive ecosystem.”

Avoiding Analytical Myopia

Analytics offers managers a great way to fine-tune processes, but too many executives focus on metrics at the expense of the bigger picture. The blinders and focus that work well to optimize the details of a problem may prevent managers from seeing other options, and intense focus on a narrow measure can address only the well-specified puzzle — resulting in a myopic view of the problem. Executives who desire bigger breakthroughs need to encourage exploration.

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