Get Marketing Insights Fast Without a Data Hostage Crisis

shutterstock_210349615The landscape for marketing analytics solutions is more cluttered than ever with multiple options and approaches for marketing departments to consider.  One option that we are seeing more and more of is a seductive offering that promises a simple, fast, nearly turnkey approach to getting analysis and insight from your growing stacks of data.  The offer is this: a vendor will import your data to their systems, do analysis on it with their in-house experts, and come back to you with insights that will help you run your business better.

No doubt, this is an attractive offer if you are like many marketing organizations, struggling to get internal resources to help consolidate data and do the analysis required to get you the insights you need.   Business Intelligence resources are hard to find in your company, the data holders in IT are backlogged and short staffed.  You need insights now to help engage and sell to your customers and are done waiting on internal resources so why not go this route?  While likely a quick, tactical solution that will get you answers in the near term, there are several major drawbacks to this solution as a longer term strategy.

Market leading organizations know that their data is a significant asset that, when used well, can help them better understand and engage their customers, anticipate customer needs, cross sell, upsell, and stay ahead of the competition. As part of making data a core competency, your organization has to do the hard work to intimately know its data, its strengths, its shortcomings, and understand what it can tell you about your business.  That intimate understanding of data only comes from digging in, “doing the homework,” investing in the infrastructure and skillsets to excel at business intelligence inside the organization.  Organizations that have this kind of understanding of their data are continually improving the quality of data in their organization and building the kind of sustainable internal BI capability that actually adds significantly to the value and sustainability of the company.  C-suite, take note!

If you outsource that knowledge, you may get the answers you seek fast, but you do not get the sustainable, growing capability in-house that becomes a core differentiator for your company and helps you lead the market. datahostagecalloutI’m amazed when I hear this but it is very common practice. What if your vendor company goes out of business, gets acquired, changes business models or you decide to change vendors?  Your vendor is holding your data hostage.  What are you left with then?  All the money you spent bought you yesterday’s insights but you have no investment or capability towards the future.   Your team has none of the knowledge or infrastructure to sustain and continue to grow that flow of business intelligence that is critical to serving your customers and staying ahead of your competition.   You are back to zero.

Fair enough you say, but damn it, I still need insights now and I can’t wait any longer.  Tactical and non-sustainable is better than nothing right?  Well consider that it doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” approach.  There is a way to get fast and sustainable.  You can start with a partner who gets you to the critical insights you need now, but is doing it on your systems, building out infrastructure you own (be it in the cloud on your behalf or on premises), and is helping mentor your team members along the way.  You may spend a little more along the way to do this, but in this approach you are investing, not just paying a monthly fee with no incremental addition of value to your company.  Very quickly you will be way ahead.

If the vendor you pick, in this case, goes out of business, moves on, or you decide to part ways, there may be some short term pain, but you own the assets, data, and business logic they built and you have team members who have been working directly with the technology and data, “doing the homework”, and can keep you moving forward.  Nobody has your data held hostage.

The right choice for a vendor should:

  • Have deep experience utilizing the cloud to get you up and running fast, with limited need for hardware purchase and support.  The cloud is great but make sure it is your, cloud, not someone else’s.
  • Work with you to understand your unique needs, data, internal team skills and challenges, and creates a roadmap to Business Intelligence ROI internally.
  • Provide all the senior BI talent you need now to get answers fast, but also help you grow that skill in house, with training, new employee interviewing and ongoing mentoring.  They need to have a demonstrated understanding that knowledge transition to your team is part of the deliverable and be committed to providing it.

Pick a partner who can help you avoid having your data taken hostage, while getting you the insights and ROI you need fast!

Written by Duane Bedard, eSage Group President and Co-Founder

 

 

Executive Evening Out with eSage Group and Microsoft

On March 10th, eSage Group held its first Executive Evening Out at the exclusive Rainier Club in Downtown Seattle. The event was sponsored by Microsoft Advanced Analytics.

On March 10th, eSage Group held its first Executive Evening Out at the exclusive Rainier Club in Downtown Seattle.  The event was sponsored by Microsoft Advanced Analytics.

15 Seattle area executives, from the likes of Starbucks, Trupanion, Allrecipes, Alaska Air, Disney and their guests joined us for a short presentation by Shish Shridhar, Worldwide Director for Business Intelligence Solutions – Retail for Microsoft, then sat down to a 5 course meal with wine pairings presented by The Rainier Club sommelier.

Microsoft has a powerful offering, from Azure Machine Learning, Cortana Analytics Suite, SQL 2016 and PowerBI. It was definitely a learning experience along with a wonderful meal and wines.

 

A Year in Review – LA and Seattle MeetUps

It was quite a year for both the LA and Seattle Marketing Analytic MeetUps! We had terrific speakers share on current topics! In LA, we had Nevious Osborne of Beats by Dre talking effective dashboards, Peter Taylor of Belkin talking IoT analytics and Punnoose Isaac of Edmunds.com talking on how to build an analytics infrastructure, just to name a few!  Check out the full list here.

Not to be outdone, Seattle had Jeremy Boore of Expedia talk Storytelling and Analytics, Chris Proser of Adobe talk about going beyond A/B testing, Kyle Wieranga of Costco talk on moving from Predictive to Prescriptive Analytics, Shish Shirdar from Microsoft talk Machine Learning, and Ed Mabanglo from Nordstrom talk time-to-event analysis to measure customer tenure. Check out the full list here.

2016 is proving to be great with Tania Massad from Mattel presenting in LA and Brian Behuin from Alaska Air presenting in Seattle.

Make sure to become a member for the Seattle and/or LA Marketing Analytic MeetUps to receive notices of upcoming events!

 

 

 

Understanding and Influencing the Customer Journey

Last week in Downtown LA, eSage Group and Microsoft hosted an Executive Learning Lounge focused on understanding and influencing the customer journey.

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The concept is a complex one. I came across this great article in the November issue of Harvard Business Review.  I hope you find it as insightful as I did.

If you are in Seattle, we are having a Customer Journey panel at the DAA Seattle Symposium on November 12th.  Shish Shirdhar will once again get in the panelist chair along with Michael Lisin of Disney and Duane Bedard of eSage Group will moderate!

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Competing on the Customer Journey – HBR, November 2015 – Executive Summary

As digital technology has enabled shoppers to easily research and buy products online, sellers have been scrambling after them, trying to understand and satisfy their wants. Savvy companies, however, are using new tools, processes, and organizational structures to proactively lead digital customers from consideration to purchase and beyond. They are creating compelling customer journeys and managing them like any other product—and gaining a source of competitive advantage.

Building successful journeys requires four key capabilities: automation, to smoothly carry customers through each step of their online path; personalization, to create a customized experience for each individual; contextual interaction, to engage customers and appropriately sequence the steps they take; and journey innovation, to add improvements that enhance and extend the journey and foster customer loyalty.

In addition, the most successful companies have a particular organizational structure, with a chief experience officer overseeing a journey-focused strategist and a “journey product manager.” This latter role is critical—the journey product manager leads a team of designers, developers, data analysts, marketers, and others to create and sustain superior journeys, and he or she is accountable for the journey’s ROI and general business performance.

Immediate Job Opening – Mexico Based Microsoft BI Stack Engineer

Microsoft BIThe eSage Group is a Marketing Data Analytics firm established in 1998, headquartered in Seattle, Washington, USA. We have Fortune 500 clients including Disney, the LA Times, and Microsoft.

 Our company is always on the lookout for talented developers at all levels in both Mexico and the US. We have worked hard to create a company culture of sharp, quick learning, hardworking professionals who enjoy being part of a winning team with high expectations. As such, we hire self-motivated people with excellent technical abilities who also exhibit keen business acumen and a drive for customer satisfaction and solving our client’s business challenges.

 We have a strong remote team in various locations in Mexico, including Monterrey, Aguascalientes, Mexico City, and Guadalajara. All employees work from home. All employees are full-time employees, not contractors.


We need  Mid-Level Software Engineers (3+ years of experience) with the Microsoft BI stack.esage 2logo

All candidates must have a strong interested in business intelligence and marketing analytics. They must be willing to work with other companies at the same time. They must have a strong desire to understand business problems and look to disparate data sources to integration to gain insights to help solve the business problems.

Qualifications/Experience
• Advanced English Skills both written and spoken
• Advanced Excel and SQL skills
• Strong past data analysis experience
• Good oral and written communication skills
• A keen eye for detail is required. This person must be extremely detail oriented
• Ability to produce high quality, accurate, deliverables
• Proven ability to work under pressure with deadlines
• Ability to learn quickly, follow direction, and execute tasks independently

Technical Skills
• SQL Server
Knowledge of databases, stored procedures, and writing T-SQL script. Should know about primary and foreign keys, indexes and why they are important. Should know how to use temporary tables and know something about the use of cursors within a script. Basic error handling within a script would also be nice.

• OLAP / Analysis Services
Ability to design and build an OLAP database within Visual Studio. Understand the following concepts: Data Source View, calculated measures, named set, referenced dimension, Measure Group. Able to deploy and process an OLAP database. Understanding of basic MDX and how it is different from SQL. Knows the difference between a set, a tuple, and a value.

• SSIS (Integration Services)
Experience designing SSIS packages that can extract, transform, and load data. Use of Data Flow and Script Task components. Able to use C# and variables within SSIS. Able to package and deploy SSIS components.

• C# / .NET Framework
This includes the ability to create custom classes, interfaces, and events. Understands concepts like inheritance, polymorphism, referenced assemblies, and delegates. Should be comfortable working with lists (.NET or custom) and familiar with the standard .NET types arrays, dictionaries, lists, structs. Knowledge of Generics is a plus.

Please email your resume to tinam (at) esagegroup (.) com and/or complete form below.

 

Seeking 4 mid/senior level engineers to work on a Cloud-based Big Data project

eSage Group is always on the lookout for talented developers at all levels.  We have worked hard to create a company culture of sharp, quick learning, hardworking professionals who enjoy being part of a winning team with high expectations.   As such, we hire self-motivated people with excellent technical abilities who also exhibit keen business acumen and a drive for customer satisfaction and solving our client’s business challenges.   We have quarterly profit sharing based on companywide goals, allowing everyone on the team to participate in and enjoy the rewards of our careful but consistently strong growth. We are currently looking to fill 4 openings to complete a team that will be working together on a large-scale “big data” deployment on AWS.

  1. Cloud-operations specialist who can design a distributed platform for analyzing terabytes of data using MapReduce, Hive, and Spark.
  2. Cloud-database engineer who can construct an enterprise caliber database architecture and schema for a high-performance Cloud-based platform that stores terabytes of data from several heterogeneous data sources.
  3. Mid/senior-level software developer with extensive experience in Java, who can write and deploy a variety of data processing algorithms using Hadoop.
  4. A technical business analyst who can translate business requirements into user stories and envision them through Tableau charts/reports.

1) Cloud-operations specialist: • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or related field; or, 4 years of IT work experience • Familiarity with open-source programming environments and tools (e.g., ant, maven, Eclipse) • Comfortable using the Linux operating system, and familiarity with command-line tools (e.g., awk, sed, grep, scp, ssh). • Experience working with Web/Cloud-based systems (e.g., AWS, REST) • Knowledge of database concepts, specifically, SQL syntax • Data warehouse architecture, modeling, profiling and integration experience • Comfortable using the command line (e.g., Bash), experience with systems deployment and maintenance (e.g., cron job scheduling, iptables) • Practical work experience designing and deploying large-scale Cloud-based solutions on AWS using EC2, EBS, and S3 • Working knowledge of one or more scripting languages (e.g., Perl, Python) • Experience using systems management infrastructure (e.g., LDAP, Kerberos, Active Directory) and deployment software (e.g., Puppet, Chef) • Programming ability in an OOP language (e.g., Java, C#, C++) is a plus 2) Cloud-database engineer: • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or related field; or, 4 years of IT work experience • Familiarity with open-source programming environments and tools (e.g., ant, maven, Eclipse) • Comfortable using the Linux operating system, and familiarity with command-line tools (e.g., awk, sed, grep, scp, ssh). • Experience working with Web/Cloud-based systems (e.g., AWS, REST) • Knowledge of database concepts, specifically, SQL syntax • Firm grasp of databases and distributed systems; expert knowledge of SQL (i.e., indexes, stored procedures, views, joins, SISS) • Extensive experience envisioning, designing, and deploying large-scale database systems both in traditional computational environments and in the Cloud • Ability to design complex data ETLs and database schemas • Desire to work with many heterogeneous terabyte-scale datasets to identify and extract Business Intelligence • Experience using multiple DBMS (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, SQL Server) • Work experience using Hive and NOSQL databases is a plus 3) Mid/senior-level software developer: • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or related field; or, 4 years of IT work experience • Familiarity with open-source programming environments and tools (e.g., ant, maven, Eclipse) • Comfortable using the Linux operating system, and familiarity with command-line tools (e.g., awk, sed, grep, scp, ssh). • Experience working with Web/Cloud-based systems (e.g., AWS, REST) • Knowledge of database concepts, specifically, SQL syntax • Excellent Java developer with knowledge of software design practices (e.g., OOP, design patterns) who writes sustainable programs and employs coding best practices • Ability to program, build, troubleshoot, and optimize new or existing Java programs • Several years development experience using both version control (e.g., SVN, Git) and build management systems (e.g., Ant, Maven) • Able to create and debug programs both within IDE environments and also on the command line • Working knowledge of Web development frameworks and distributed systems (e.g., Spring, REST APIs) • Experience using Hadoop ecosystem (e.g., MapReduce, Hive, Pig, Shark, Spark, Tez) to program, build, and deploy distributed data processing jobs • Programming ability in Scala is a plus 4) Technical Business Analyst: • Strong background in business intelligence • Minimum of 1 year using Tableau and Tableau server. • Able to work closely with cross-functional business groups to define reporting requirements and use-cases • Extensive experience manipulating data (e.g., data cubes, pivot tables, SSIS) • Passion for creating insight out of data and data investigation • Experience using R, Mahout, or Matlab is a plus Please send resumes to tinam (at) esagegroup (dot) com

Immediate Need for 2 Technical Business Analysts

eSage Group has an immediate need for 2 solid Technical Data Analysts.  Both positions are in Bellevue, WA.  No remote.

The successful candidate is someone who enjoys diving into our client’s business issues, understanding needs, evaluating the data available and then doing the analysis and creating reports that provide our clients with meaningful insights.  Candidate should have great communication skills, a keen curiosity about business challenges, and possess the intermediate SQL and Data Schema skills required to be able to evaluate and then query available date sources to create reports.

analyticsResponsibilities:

  • Work directly with business users to understand information needs
  • Inspect data sources and conduct data audits to verify data accuracy and ensure quality
  • Analyze data for trends and outliers
  • Create report and charts that highlight meaningful insights about their business, customers, etc.

Qualifications

  • Strong past Data Analysis Experience working directly with end users
  • Intermediate Data Base and SQL Skills – Ability to use MS SQL to assess data quality and availability, and then write queries to assemble the data to build reports.
  • Advanced Excel Skills, ability to do advanced charting, Pivot Tables and ad hoc analysis
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Mathematical mind with great analysis skills
  • Highly organized, detail oriented and produces quality work that has been fully checked and can be trusted by decision makers who will rely on it

 Nice to have:

  • Experience working with OLAP data cubes
  • Advanced MS SQL/Database skills
  • Experience with MS Power BI Tools

Please email your resume to tinam (@) esagegroup (.) com.