Analytics & Strategy

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The Best of This Week

This week’s must-reads for managing in a digital age: just because companies recognize re-skilling and upskilling is critical doesn’t mean they’re doing it right. Also, how to choose charts everyone understands, where blockchain is headed in the enterprise, and words of wisdom for managing your career in an age of uncertainty.

Three People-Centered Design Principles for Deep Learning

As organizations begin adopting deep learning, leadership must ensure that artificial neural networks are accurate and precise to avoid negative impacts on business decisions that hurt customers, products, and services. A designed-centered approach helps address both these short-term concerns as well as the long-term concerns that machines might displace humans when it comes to business decision-making.

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Self-Driving Companies Are Coming

  • Read Time: 9 min 

Automation can go far beyond cars. Self-driving company capabilities are closer than many leaders realize. And just as automobile manufacturers are rethinking the meaning of driving within the context of self-driving technology, business leaders are being forced to rethink an equivalent question: What does it mean to manage an enterprise once some of the work can be done autonomously?

Predicting the College Football Playoff

Which teams make it to the college football playoffs isn’t as random as it sometimes seems, says University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Laura Albert. In this week’s Counterpoints podcast, we look at how Albert uses analytics to predict the brackets and how the football playoff selections compare to that other big college tournament, March Madness.

Why Personalization Matters for Consumer Privacy

Many different factors determine how consumers balance data privacy against a desire for personalized products and services — age, geography, and education among them. Companies can help their customers feel more comfortable with the data collection needed for personalized service by understanding customer values and maintaining transparency and good communication when it comes to data collection.

Customer Centricity in the Digital Age

  • Read Time: 4 min 

As AI moves from the hype stage to implementation within organizations, retailers and marketers have new competitive opportunities with customer centricity. AI enables companies to apply data about their customers’ wants, needs, and preferences to customize their offerings, create personalized shopping experiences, and make the purchase process simpler and more convenient.

The Secret of My eSports Success

One of the newest and most important players in the sports world isn’t a soccer phenom or an NBA all-star — it’s a multiplayer video gaming platform known as eSports. The universe of eSports relies heavily on data analytics, but the surprising twist is the role of social science analytics in this world of virtual contests between far-flung players. Counterpoints talks to eSports analytics guru Tim Sevenhuysen.

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The Perils of Applying AI Prediction to Complex Decisions

While AI is brilliantly placed to solve decisions that are concrete and well-defined, in other contexts it can fail spectacularly, showing connections between facts or events but stumbling when the need to disentangle cause from correlation arises. Human input in the form of subject matter knowledge and common sense are often needed to complement AI. And executives must understand which challenges are right for these new technologies to address.

Five AI Solutions Transforming B2B Marketing

  • Read Time: 8 min 

B2B Marketing departments never have enough time, manpower, or money. AI solutions such as automated emails and predictive analytics can help companies push back against these constraints. AI marketing products can act as a force multiplier. Imagine filling your headquarters with thousands of brilliant marketers, expertly analyzing data and providing actionable insights that increase the productivity of your existing marketing team.

So, Do Analytics Actually Work?

While many businesses have embraced the idea that analytics can help improve performance, there are plenty of skeptics. Can analytics really show business leaders something old-fashioned intuition can’t? In this podcast episode, analytics expert Ben Alamar seeks proof that analytics really do lead to improved results.

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The Machine Learning Race Is Really a Data Race

  • Read Time: 6 min 

Companies are racing to apply machine learning to important business decisions, only to realize that the data they need doesn’t even exist yet. In essence, the fancy new AI systems are being asked to apply new techniques to the same old material. The result is a visible arms race as companies bring on machine learning coders and kick off AI initiatives alongside a behind-the-scenes, panicked race for new and different data.

When NHL Best Practices Go Overboard

In this episode of the sports analytics podcast, Counterpoints looks at the unusual case of Larry Murphy, a right-handed hockey defenseman whose support for Hall of Fame lefthanders helped two teams win the Stanley Cup in the 1990s. Was this outcome due to a unique quality Murphy brought to the game, or does a more general strategy of finding complementary talents improve team performance?

Sleep Is the Greatest Legal Advantage in Sports

This episode of the sports analytics podcast Counterpoints shows that the greatest legal advantage in sports is a good night’s sleep. Using wearable devices to monitor athletes’ sleep, physiologists have shown that at least 8 hours of sleep can greatly improve performance — with implications not just for sports, but all areas of business and daily life.

Do Teams Need to Win to Sell Tickets?

A winning record seems like it would help teams draw more fans to their games, yet there’s plenty of evidence that even losing teams can be profitable — sometimes more so than winners. This episode of the sports analytics podcast Counterpoints looks at the problem of selling a product with unpredictable performance by focusing on baseball.

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