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  • admin 9:51 am on November 22, 2017 Permalink
    Tags: Black, ,   

    Building Trust in AI: How to Get Buy in for the Black Box 

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  • admin 9:51 am on July 30, 2016 Permalink
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    Creative Business Analytics — The New Black? 

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  • admin 9:51 am on November 22, 2015 Permalink
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    The Evolution Of Black Friday Reveals Improved Understanding Of Customers 

    RET-1008-LOver the past few years, Black Friday sales have been starting earlier and earlier – so much so that some stores have begun welcoming shoppers “pre”-Black Friday, even as early as Thanksgiving morning. This fall, however, there are signs that “Black Friday creep” is losing its appeal.

    At least 20 chain popular chain stores have announced that they are not opening on Thanksgiving Day. In addition, other retailers are being petitioned to reconsider their holiday schedule, and at least one – REI – will be closed not only on Thanksgiving, but on Black Friday, as well. Here’s how Jerry Stritzke, president and CEO of REI, explained the company’s decision:

    “Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the essential truth that life is richer, more connected and complete when you choose to spend it outside. We’re closing our doors, paying our employees to get out there, and inviting America to OptOutside with us because we love great gear, but we are even more passionate about the experiences it unlocks.”

    At first, a strategy like this may seem misguided. Why on earth would a retailer want to close its doors on the busiest shopping day of the year? Who says “no” to Black Friday?

    But dig a little deeper and you’ll see what I do: a business move that’s fresh, bold and, for this particular company, quite savvy. By closing on Black Friday, REI is staying true to its brand message and proving it truly knows, and respects, its customers.

    In today’s always-on, always-distracted global marketplace, it’s becoming more and more difficult to stand out from the crowd. Essentially, you have two choices: Either, grow hoarse from trying to be heard above the noise (as you shout about a Black Friday sale that’s happening early… no, earlier… no, even earlier) or distinguish yourself by putting the focus precisely where it belongs – on your customers.

    To succeed, your marketing campaigns need to be customer-centric. You need to know your customers as people, and you need to understand what makes them prefer your brand above all others. As I’ve said before, the best way to maintain and evolve a healthy brand is to be intentional and consistent about establishing it – so much so that the “noise” can’t drown out the tune you want the world to hear.

    A wealth of marketing applications are available to help you determine how to proceed – because, keep in mind, what works for one company, might not be the right fit for yours. For REI, the answer clearly lies in connecting with customers through a shared appreciation of the outdoors. Here’s more from Stritzke:

    “As a member-owned co-op, our definition of success goes beyond money. We believe that a life lived outdoors is a life well lived and we aspire to be stewards of our great outdoors. We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand and so we are choosing to invest in helping people get outside with loved ones this holiday season, over spending it in the aisles. Please join us and inspire us with your experiences. We hope to engage millions of Americans and galvanize the outdoor community to get outside.”

    Has your Black Friday strategy changed over the years? Does your strategy resonate with your customers?

    The post The Evolution Of Black Friday Reveals Improved Understanding Of Customers appeared first on Teradata Applications.

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  • admin 9:51 am on August 13, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , Black, , , July, Turned   

    How Amazon Turned Its Black Friday in July into a Black Eye Day 

    a.com_logo_RGBAfter weeks of being built up as a Black Friday in July, Amazon Prime Day finally arrived, and the world… yawned. Groggy consumers who stayed up late for the opening midnight madness of summertime savings were greeted with seemingly random and underwhelming deals that many likened to a garage sale. The virtual doorbusters, it turned out, were mostly just busts.

    By morning, consumers had already begun to vent their frustration on social media. They lamented the lack of desirable items, sales that ended too quickly and the alarming ubiquity of socks. (It was, in retrospect, a small mercy that no one created an #amazonsocks hashtag.) In celebrating the 20th anniversary of Amazon, Prime Day was a prime opportunity to show the world the power of data-driven marketing in the 21st century. Instead, it was a throwback to the kind of disorganized, impersonalized online marketplace that Amazon sought to displace 20 years ago.

    The real tragedy of Prime Day isn’t the PR hit that Amazon took. Prime is still a great service and Amazon is still a great brand. But Prime Day could have been something so much better, if Amazon had only followed their own marketing rules and made the customer experience memorable for the right reasons.

    In our marketing post-mortem, Amazon made several deadly mistakes with Prime Day:

    They targeted their audience (Prime users) without targeting their marketing.

    Amazon knows its customers and are masters at the cross-sell, but you wouldn’t have known it on Prime Day. Instead of personalized offers and recommendations, customers were left on their own to scroll their scores of socks, flashlights and other items in the hope of finding something that interested them. As for the lightning round deals (billed as a barrage of doorbusters throughout the day), they were completely hit or miss, ranging from great deals to ho-hum discounts.

    They short-circuited the buying process.

    Here again, this was puzzling because Amazon understands better than almost any company the importance of research and price/feature comparison in the buyer’s journey. A big reason why Black Friday is so successful is because it gives shoppers six hours or more to research and compare products before the sale. Amazon did an excellent job of creating general anticipation for Prime Day, but by keeping mum on specific deals it failed to give its customers time to research and compare products. Amazon did point out that Prime Day buyers were quick to purchase once they were on the site, but it’s unclear how many of those fast purchases were for small-ticket items or brands/products that the customer already trusted.

    They ignored the Prime directive.

    Amazon Prime is many things to many people: a customer loyalty program that offers free shipping on many items; a streaming video service that rivals Netflix; a free audio streaming service. What it’s not is a discount club. But instead of giving people a taste of those services, Amazon chose to celebrate Prime by focusing on something it has never been associated with: discounted merchandise. As a result, it’s likely that more than a few customers confused Amazon Prime with JB’s (Jeff Bezos’s) Wholesale Club.

    Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but what we’re really talking about here isn’t the need for more foresight on Amazon’s part, but more insight. Customer relationships are a collection of moments in time, and companies need to make the most of those moments through real-time, personalized marketing. Prime Day focused on the products rather than the people, and paid the price. Had Amazon used analytics and its vast store of customer data to turn Prime Day into a million personalized Black Fridays, it would have knocked our collective socks off, instead of prompting us in our boredom to pick up an extra pair of them.

    The post How Amazon Turned Its Black Friday in July into a Black Eye Day appeared first on Teradata Applications.

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  • admin 9:51 am on May 31, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: Black, Gray, Swans,   

    Turn Black Swans Gray 

    by Alex Entrekin

    Based on a quick read of the daily headlines, black swan events—scenarios that surprise businesses and leave them reeling—seem to be occurring at a startlingly frenetic pace. No doubt this trend is the result of our increasingly interconnected and globalized world. Even an event that takes place thousands and thousands of miles away can have a far-reaching impact.

    Given the major changes in how people communicate, we know about such occurrences almost immediately. In some cases, such as the Arab Spring in 2010, social media played a major role in both covering and driving an event that toppled governments.

    Clearly, whether they’re man-made or caused by natural disasters, unforeseen disruptions pose troubling threats and challenges that must be addressed. 

    Predict the Unexpected

    The frequency of black swans can make one question whether these are truly unpredictable events. Maybe some are really gray swans—situations that can have the same type of impact as black swans, but occur more frequently and can be predicted to a certain degree.

    With the continued advances in big data usage and next-generation analytics, organizations have gained an unprecedented opportunity to identify and plan for these improbable but high-impact events. As recently as a few years ago, some businesses struggled to gather, integrate and analyze the necessary data to make informed decisions.

    Today, data is everywhere, coming in multiple forms (structured, unstructured, multi-structured) and from an increasing number of sources. This abundance of data, coupled with advanced analytics, opens the door to explore data in ways that were not previously possible. For example, visualization and predictive analytics now enable the discovery of new patterns, new insights and new threats.

    Reduce the Risk

    Based on the definition of black swans alone, we clearly cannot predict or plan for all types of unexpected events. However, the latest generation of technology offers advanced analytics and faster discovery techniques to quickly and effectively cut through the noise to find signals and trends. And that’s a huge opportunity to better prepare for and manage the impact of these events—and maybe even turn some of those black swans gray. 

    This article originally appeared in the Q2 2015 issue of Teradata Magazine.

    Alex Entrekin is the vice president of Enterprise Risk & Assurance Services for Teradata.


    The post Turn Black Swans Gray appeared first on Magazine Blog.

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  • admin 9:51 am on May 26, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: Black, Duckling, Swan, Ugly   

    Ugly Duckling or Black Swan? 

    BlackSwanby John Edwards

    In business, a black swan is an extreme event that flies in—seemingly from out of nowhere—to disrupt normal operations. The probability of one striking in the near term is low, yet since the threat is ever-present and can have a devastating impact, the mere knowledge of its existence makes C-suite executives nervous. Be warned: sooner or later, you will experience one.

    Since a black swan is difficult (some would argue impossible) to predict, few organizations think about preparing for the possibility. However, the risks of inaction are high and the costs can be enormous. When one does arrive, whole industries can be rattled and thrown into disarray. In extreme cases, companies close, suppliers or partners shut down, formerly profitable markets vanish and once-stable business models are shattered.

    Kathleen S. Long, CEO of Montage Analytics, a risk assessment software and management consulting company, notes that “the black swan blindsides the organization and creates a ripple effect far beyond the organization’s boundaries to customers, suppliers, shareholders and other stakeholders.”

    Global companies face a greater risk of havoc since a catastrophe, including a natural event such as a tsunami, can affect the entire supply chain as well as deliveries to customers worldwide. Even events that at first appear trivial or happen on the other side of the planet can escalate, causing unanticipated problems. In other words, if you ignore that little duckling now because you think it’s ugly but harmless, the next time you look it may very well have grown into a crisis-level black swan.

    Detect and Mitigate Events With Big Data Analytics

    Black swans can elude traditional data analytics and standard operating procedures, which means they are usually only recognized when it’s too late to head them off and after much of the damage is done. But now, big data and advanced analytics may help detect the subtle early warning signs. “If you go back to market events of a few years ago, some banks did better than others …[because] they had a much better understanding of their portfolios and better understanding of the risk,” says Dilip Krishna, a director in Deloitte & Touche’s governance, regulatory and risk strategies practice.

    For organizations to detect an impending event, they must have the ability to interpret analytic insights that point to a potential catastrophe. Most large companies have an enterprise risk management (ERM) department to identify risks. Yet ERM departments generally focus on regulations and traditional risks without addressing out-of-the-blue events.

    The knowledge, skills and capabilities needed to manage uncertainty can be challenging to find within any business, Long observes. “It’s important to distinguish between ‘risk’ and ‘uncertainty.’ Risk is measurable quantitatively and lends itself to planning. Uncertainty is the domain of the black swan and cannot be calculated or planned for in the same way,” she explains. “Global complexity compounded by the speed of change has rendered us increasingly vulnerable to apparently random and potentially catastrophic events known as black swans. In this fast-moving, complex world, if we don’t know what we don’t know, how do we prepare for an uncertain future?”

    The only way to mitigate the effects of such an event is to identify organizational and system vulnerabilities and the consequences of possible threats in order to cultivate resilience, Long points out. This process depends on understanding the cultural context and the effect of human behavior within it.

    “Strategies should be revisited locally … with enterprise updates annually or as needed,” she says. “We need better models that capture the role of human behavior in complex adaptive systems. At the core of every black swan event, you will find human behavior and interaction.” 

    Counter the Threat

    Preparing for a possible disruptive event needs to entail scrutinizing data as deeply and carefully as possible to spot clues that could indicate an impending crisis. Even if an organization is focused on what it knows are the tasks at hand, big data provides peripheral vision to see what other events could impact the business. Krishna recommends that companies ask themselves if they have the capacity to analyze events that trigger a black swan event and if they have the flexibility to ask questions that have not been asked before. In order to get the new insights the business needs, the analysis must be ongoing and agile, he adds.

    Organizations across every industry should consider the risks posed by a wide variety of potentially problematic events, and then preemptively plan for them. Such careful preparation requires the analytics team to systematically generate mitigation solutions for each major “what if?” situation.

    Solutions that address individual risks should be prioritized by the magnitude of exposure as well as the expense and ease of implementation. “Think about the worst-case scenario, what sorts of worst-case scenarios might exist and what triggering events might cause those scenarios to happen,” Krishna suggests.

    A data-driven analysis or simulation designed to determine an organization’s ability to deal with a crisis situation can help it be ready for the day a black swan lands on its front steps. Krishna notes that this type of “stress testing” can gauge the level of readiness. “[Preparation] is really all about imagining the unimaginable, understanding what’s going to blow up … [and] to be able to determine what corrective actions are needed,” he explains. “That is becoming very much an accepted approach … certainly something that, from a regulatory standpoint, is becoming mandatory for a number of financial institutions.”

    Businesses that identify a possible event early on and take evasive actions are usually in the best position to ride out the crisis. Krishna advises companies to carefully map out the exact steps they will need to take in various types of crisis situations. “Then document those actions so that if any of the expected scenarios occur, there will be no second-guessing,” he points out. “It’s simply a matter of executing what’s already been documented; executing that game plan, if you will.”

    Identify the Ugliest Ducklings

    Predictive analytics performed on integrated data can help identify potentially business-shattering events. Analytics can also provide valuable insights from past black swan encounters.

    After an attack, a careful examination of key analytics, actions and environmental factors can reveal oversights or lapses that might have caused or enabled a black swan. “Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20,” Long states. “Working backward, it’s easy to see what could have or should have been done to avert the event or soften the impact.”

    Surviving a disruptive event can be the catalyst for thinking differently about risk management. “A black swan event has the benefit of being able to focus an organization on risk overall,” Krishna notes. “Bigger risks might get headed off by an organization just getting its mind around risk management overall and thinking through risk in a more holistic manner, which could then help the organization survive.”

    Companies will never be able to completely mitigate the threat of unexpected events. They can, however, rely on analytics to give them as much warning as possible. Analytics can provide the insights to assess an organization’s vulnerability and form plans to evade different types of events or lessen their impact (or choose to accept the risk by not taking any action). The same insights can also help determine which ugly ducklings that start out as small annoyances are most likely to turn into high-impact black swans.  

    Read the full article and more in the new Q2 2015 issue of Teradata Magazine.

    John Edwards has covered the technology industry for more than two decades.



    The post Ugly Duckling or Black Swan? appeared first on Magazine Blog.

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