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.

 

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

What is the Internet of Things? Why should marketers care? RSVP Now to find out!

Internet of ThingsPlease join us in this lively evening event sponsored and organized by eSage Group with co-sponsors Pointmarc and Cloudera. Hear a panel of industry experts from the areas of Wearables, Home Security/Automation, and Automotive:

Duane Bedard from eSage Group, a thought leader in the marketing analytics space, will moderate a discussion delving into the Internet of Things, where are we today, what the future holds and how marketers can best be prepared to take advantage of it to improve effectiveness of marketing campaigns and develop new revenue streams.

The Learning Lounge is presented with PSAMA and DAA.

Details:

When: May 15, 2014 Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Where: Club Sur 2109 First Avenue South SODO, just south of the Starbucks Center
Cost: $25 includes beverages (alcoholic and non) and appetizers Parking is free and readily available after 6pm on First and side streets.

RSVP Now IoT

 Check out the cool digs!

SUR Montage

DONT MISS IT!

 

Just announced! eSage Group’s Internet of Things Learning Lounge – May 15th

iot3A First-Hand Conversation on the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things will profoundly re-shape marketing. As objects in all corners of our lives become connected to the web what does it mean for brands and customers? To help provide insight, and a lively discussion, eSage Group and PSAMA has arranged a premium collection of senior-level thinkers from some of the area’s strongest brands, all together on one panel.

See first-hand how Alaska Airlines is evolving air travel, how Vivint is revolutionizing digital homes and how Nike continues to be an innovator in wearables all through understanding the opportunities from the Internet of Things.

Learning Lounge: An All-New Event Format

At the Learning Lounge, Seattle Marketing Analytics Group, PSAMA members, and non-members alike are invited to join together for an evening at SUR, one of Seattle’s most talked-about venues. Enjoy food and drink (ticket prices includes cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres) while learning from some of the Northwest’s most innovative brands how the Internet of Things is starting to re-shape marketing.

Expert Panel:

Details:

Date: May 15th, 21014

Location: Club SUR, SODO, 2901 1st Avenue S

Time: 6pm

Tickets are $25 for all Seattle Marketing Analytics Group members!

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Register here!

Special Thanks to our co-sponsors!

pointmarc_logo

 

The Learning Lounge is replacing the normal monthly MeetUp at Fado’s for the month of May. We will return to normal in June. 

If folks like it, The Learning Lounge will hopefully become a quarterly (or so) event.

The Shish List – Big Data at MarketMix

This article was posted by Shish Shirhar, Global Director of Big Data, Retail. He was one of our Making Big Data Smart Data panelists for last week’s PSAMA MarketMix.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/shishirs/archive/2014/03/27/bigdata-at-marketmix.aspx0312_MarketMix1_thumb_13BAE14D

Thanks to Duane Bedard & Tina Munro of eSageGroup, I participated in a panel discussion at MarketMix with the brilliant Data Scientists: Jason Gowans of Nordstrom and Jon Francis of Nike. Duane Bedard did an excellent job of moderating the conversation.  I love his skill of condensing everything we said to short soundbytes that were ready to go on twitter 🙂 , and they did with hashtag #MarketMix.

Jon Francis shared interesting insights on the work he does on the ecommerce business at Nike. Jason Gowans runs the Nordstrom Data Lab and shared his perspectives on what it takes to walk the thin line between providing great customer experience through personalization and becoming “creepy”. We discussed where Big Data has proven value and where it has disappointed; talked about how Marketers can benefit from Big Data Analytics and what kind of data is useful for enhancing insights.

I spoke with several people in the audience after the session and one of the questions that stood out was: “How can we start small, working with multiple data sources?” My recommendation is to have a look at a tool that you most likely already have: Excel. Excel 2013 has some interesting new capabilities with PowerBI. The democratization of data and the democratization of tools is empowering everyone to get started working with multiple datasets, combine them and create great visualizations to derive insights. Check out some of the examples from my previous blog posts:

  1. Analyzing Seattle 911 Data using PowerBI
  2. Using Power Map to Analyze Public Retailer Data
  3. Visualizing Wal-mart
  4. Lets visualize Beer because it’s 5 pm somewhere
  5. How To: Visualize Real Time Flight Data & Correlate with Local Airport Weather

This Just In….LA Marketing Analytics Group Teaches Attendees About Using Data Science to Inform Values Based Marketing Campaigns

Thank You!
…to everyone who joined us last Tuesday night for Ravi Iyer’s presentation on Using Data Science to Inform Values Based Marketing Campaigns. The slide deck from his presentation is now posted in our “Files” library at the LA Marketing Analytics Group home page: Group Homepage. Ravi Iyer is the Chief Data Scientist for Ranker and a consultant on Zenzi’s Social Values project.  He combines years of technical expertise with a PhD in psychology from the University of Southern California.  He publishes regularly in top scholarly journals and his research on moral psychology has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, and at South by Southwest Interactive.

Here’s what Ravi covered on Tuesday night:
Many companies are seeking to align their brands with the values of their consumers.  However, values can mean many things to many people.  Successfully micro-targeting the right people with the right message is essential for forward thinking marketers in the age of “big data”.  In his talk, Ravi blended case studies, academic research, and techniques from data science to show practical ideas on how your next marketing campaign can leverage data to inform a more meaningful, value-based connection with customers. We explored concepts like “Why do people buy things?”, “Big Data applied to values”, and “Predicting things that matter.” Ravi’s presentation was a wonderful mix of psychology and marketing data analytics tenets, all of which he spoke about from real world experience using his psychology and data sciences background.

eSage Group and American Marketing Association Los Angeles are excited to bring you this monthly speaker series every first Tuesday of the month. We always enjoy an evening of light appetizers, beer and wine provided by eSage Group: a systems integration and analytics consultancy combining heavy lifting technical chops with front end analytics. We help organizations rapidly integrate and transform customer data across disparate sources and perform powerful cross-channel analytics to derive deeper insight and extract maximum value from marketing and sales data.

Thanks again to all who attended, and sorry we missed those of you who couldn’t make it.
We hope to see you all next month at our Making Big Data Smart Data: The Actionable Insight Journey panel discussion with panelists from Beats by Dre, PR Newswire, and Live Analytics.

Author: Rob Lawrence is Business Development Representative in Southern California for eSage Group, President Elect 2014-15 for The American Marketing Association and Organizer of the monthly first Tuesday LA Marketing and Analytics Group.

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