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THINKing Out Loud_ Analytics and Technologies

Riffing on an idea I heard yesterday at IBM THINK, what does it look like when we map technologies to various stages of the analytics hierarchy? From Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to deep learning, how do the different technologies line up?

THINKing Out Loud: Analytics and Technologies

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In terms of how the pieces all line up, here’s the chart:

hierarchy of analytics technologies

FTC Disclosure: I am an IBM Champion. IBM provides non-monetary compensation such as apparel and travel expenses to share and promote their products and services.

Machine Transcription

Transcribed by AI. May contain significant errors.

So I have some thoughts this morning. It’s

very early morning here at IBM, think about

session I saw yesterday on Watson Explorer, which is IBM

software for doing content analysis and it got me thinking they said something interesting in the session. They said that the content exploration capabilities

essentially do the qualitative Why Did something happen to quantitative analytics what happened and that got me thinking about the hierarchy of analytics. If you remember from

a good Julian and a half different blog posts,

the hierarchy of analytics is a five part structure

there is descriptive analytics. What happened, and this is

Google Analytics, for example, or your email open rates and things what happens what

what was the, the number of things that happened diagnostic adult x, which is why did those things happen. And there are tools

that are starting to explain the why a little bit in context, but I’d like to the twist that IBM put on it which is that the qualitative data, the reasons that somebody left a

their shopping cart everything from surveys to in this case unstructured data analysis with with their tool Watson explore and it doesn’t necessarily have to be

anything really super sophisticated. To start with, you could you could do it very very simple parts of speech tagging and say, of all the words that people left in their reviews online. How many of them have a generally negative connotation like this things

and then there’s the third layer which is predictive which is what I’ve been spending a lot of my own time on lately, which is what will happen based on cyclicality and seasonality

predictable human behaviors. The fourth layer is prescriptive which is what should we do about it. And this is where machine learning will start to put together perspectives on potential outcomes Prudential given here’s a ray of 16 or 17 different choices and the likelihood that one of those is a better choice than not. And then the last layer is proactive, which is how do we automate it and how do we get a machine to do everything soup to nuts for


analytical problems. Some kind and what this got me thinking about was not only the five layers, but also the technologies that go with each of them because

in order to make the leap forward from wherever you are in the hierarchy of analytics, you need to have a technology base that goes with it. You also need processes and you need human beings who have the training to do so. It’s the the old saw people process and technology and descriptive analytics is pure quantitative, you can do a lot of the analysis in the built in tool. So Google Analytics is a fine tool for doing that. There’s

IBM Watson Analytics, which is more of a general purpose tool. There’s specialty tools like Tablo but honestly, you can do. I would say like 95% of the analysis for your average business in an Excel spreadsheet and that’s okay. If you’re getting the answers that you need to get to run your business well Excel is totally fine. There’s nothing wrong with it. I know a lot of folks who are technology vendors like to on Excel and tell you how outdated is but you know what’s what’s never outdated is getting results


diagnostic analytics. This is qualitative so this can be things like surveys and focus groups and stuff. It can be as as IBM has mentioned unstructured text mining to understand the words and the phrases and things that people use

and these are all tools. Again, these are not new tools by any means text mining has been around for

decades. It’s just that the computational power to do it at scale and with additional insights from machine learning a relatively new. The third layer predictive is statistical technology. It is a lot of what our predictive algorithms are statistics. The the algorithm that I use my work at Trust Insights is

the remote algorithms decades old, but again, like the text mining stuff. It has been

a really long time for the computing power to catch up with with the ideas with the ivory tower theories which have largely proven right because

they’ve had 50 years to develop them prescriptive technology requires machine learning

and a lot of ways to really dig into and understand you know what to do next. It is built on the foundation of statistics

on the probability of this or that of the 16th Joyce’s which is what are the probability is any one choice is going to succeed for you.

And so you do need to have some machine learning technology for that and then proactive. How do we automate this thing soup to nuts is very much one of those things that will be a deep learning problem dissolve

by mapping technologies to each layer of the hierarchy of analytics, we get a sense of

where we are and what our technology basis to support any one of these layers. So if we want prescriptive analytics, but we have no machine learning capabilities

in the absence machines. We have to have people we have to have well trained people who have solid knowledge solid processes, lots of experience and stuff but it is very possible to do that

if we want to proactively do analytics and we don’t have deep learning capabilities. Then,

today we wouldn’t use artificial intelligence, we’d use natural intelligence aka we would hire some people to do that for us and again at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what technology you use as long as you get the result that works as long as you get

a positive ROI results. So if you hire an agency to do any of these steps

as long as you’re still making more money than your spending. There’s no problem. I think one of the messages we have to be very careful of when we do all this stuff is not doing technology for technology’s sake. Well, I do that because it’s fun, it’s like it’s a hobby for me but in business and in your in your day to day running a business practically not doing technology for technology’s sake instead doing technology for the benefit of the business. And if we find that something is negative ROI on the automation side I’m on the AI side on the statistics side but could be positive ROI on the human side and make meaning you just

hire somebody to do it for you

that’s okay because we want to make the money we want to get the result we want to deliver impact. So take this idea this hierarchy of analytics and how it maps to each of these technologies and what they do and use it as a way to benchmark. Where are you in the process. What’s next for you and what are the options that are available because if it’s not artificial intelligence, it could be natural intelligence as long as you get the result. So some early morning thoughts with just barely one cup of coffee from IBM think Hope you have a great day. Thanks for watching. Please subscribe to the

newsletter and to the YouTube channel. I’ll talk to you soon. Take care.

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Christopher S. Penn is one of the world’s leading experts on AI in marketing. Christopher Penn has over a decade of AI experience in classical AI, regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI. Christopher Penn has written artificial intelligence books such as The Intelligence Revolution and AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer. Christopher Penn is an AI keynote speaker around the world.


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