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Where should you start when modeling digital data for the big data analytics warehouse? A good place to begin is by re-thinking the way the event-level data is stored. Yes, you'll want to keep this data at the lowest level of detail. In fact, you'll actually want to unpack some of the data to make for a more consistent and queryable data stream. In this post, I'll catalog some of the deficiencies in the shape of the data in a digital analytics feed (such as Adobe's) and show how it can be transformed into something that is much easier to understand and that makes many, many queries much easier to write. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at SemAngel
A Quick Introduction to Big Data Does the term big data get at something real or is it just a handy catch-phrase for helping IT departments get more budget and IT vendors sell new kinds of boxes? It’s not an easy question to answer, largely because most of the people buying and selling big data have largely missed the real point of it. Most of those buyers and sellers have tended to describe “big data” in terms of things like volume, variety and velocity. We have more, they say, and this somehow changes the problem. It doesn’t. People have struggled... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2015 at SemAngel
Here at EY, we spent a good chunk of time last year helping client’s build out digital capabilities in the analytics warehouse. In some cases, that meant building traditional data stores and traditional data models in Oracle and SQL-Server. But for the most part, it meant building analytics capabilities on top of Hadoop systems; that’s been bracing, difficult, sometimes frustrating, and always interesting. I remain convinced that the future of analytics lies in working at a very detailed level of the data (though I think there’s much to be debated about exactly which level of detail is right). I also... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2015 at SemAngel
I just did a quick count of my posts from 2014 and it came to (surprise!)….52. So I (or I plus analytics club members Kelly and Jim) averaged exactly 1 post a week. Of course, that’s assuming I don’t finish this post till after the New Year. Most years past I’ve tried to write a year-end summary that called out the posts I really liked – the ones I think worth seeking out. I know it’s expecting a lot to read all or even most of these posts during the year. Who has the time? But this year I’ve decided... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2015 at SemAngel
My daughters have recently begun to stage weekend “film festivals” where they will run four, five or even six movies over the course of two or three days. It began with a Best-of-Pixar marathon that included Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monster Inc., Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up. "Success" lead to a Miyazaki festival (Kiki, Cat Returns, Castle in the Sky, Totoro, Howl) and, last weekend, a best of Dreamworks that included Monster v. Aliens, Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda. Perhaps that’s thinner gruel, but I love Kung Fu Panda and my topic today brought to mind Kung Fu Panda’s “Secret... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2014 at SemAngel
Thursday morning I spent an hour talking “live” with Jim Sterne as part of a new DAA program called “Thought Leader Conversations”. It was cool. The conversations are a more relaxed, unfocused, genuinely enjoyable (at least for the participants) kind of public experience than I’m used to. It’s really nothing more than an extended conversation / QA – but Jim is a master at this kind of thing and non-panel Q&A is something that I’ve always liked better than speaking. We talked about everything from my early history in credit card (and why I think that data was much easier... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2014 at SemAngel
There are four areas from our Voice of Customer (VoC) discussion at X Change that I'm highlighting. In the first post, I wrote about a way to explore task accomplishment in more depth. In the second I outlined a method for using VoC to understand customer journeys. For the third, I described how VoC can be a super-efficient way to test creative strategies before investing in an expensive A/B or MVT test. Here, I discuss why it might make sense for digital analytics folks to spend a little more time measuring product not just website and marketing. The overwhelming majority... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2014 at SemAngel
There are four areas from our Voice of Customer (VoC) discussion at X Change that I'm highlighting. In the first post, I wrote about a way to explore task accomplishment in more depth. In the second I outlined a method for using VoC to understand customer journeys. Here's the third, showing how VoC can be a super-efficient way to test creative strategies before investing in an expensive A/B or MVT test. One of the really interesting discussions in the VoC Huddle that illustrates how flexible online surveys can be revolved around the use of online intercept surveys to test creative... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2014 at SemAngel
There are four areas from our Voice of Customer (VoC) discussion at X Change that I'm highlighting. In the first post, I wrote about a way to explore task accomplishment in more depth. Here's the second - outlining a method for using VoC to understand customer journeys. I really should devote a full post (or even a series) to the techniques we’ve been deploying around VoC to measure a broader spectrum of the customer journey. Here, I’m just going to try and sketch out a capsule summary of the overall approach we discussed at X Change. When we ask someone... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2014 at SemAngel
No area of analytics is as underserved in the enterprise as Voice of Customer (VoC). Despite plenty of lip-service to caring about what the customer thinks, VoC data tends to under-collected, under-processed, and under-distributed. It’s a shame, because VoC is powerful, easy to deploy, inexpensive and easy to understand. Yes, it’s true that most enterprises these days do collect basic information around satisfaction – especially NPS. But as I’ve written before, NPS is no more than scoreboard. It’s a reasonably interesting metric in terms of brand perception, but its information content is very low and largely non-digital. You can get... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2014 at SemAngel
When you look at the evolution of digital measurement in the enterprise and study organizations that have achieved a significant degree of maturity, you’ll notice that they come in two distinct flavors: the analytic and the informational. Analytic organizations have strong teams studying the data and driving testing, personalization and customer lifecycle strategies. Informational organizations have widespread, engaged usage of data across the organization with key stakeholders absorbing and using data intelligently to make decisions. It’s not impossible for an enterprise to be both analytic and informational, but the two aren’t necessarily related either. You might expect that organizations that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at SemAngel
On Tuesday morning I was feeling cursed. Which isn’t natural when you’re in a gorgeous room looking out on a huge pool with the sun sparkling on those tiny little waves that an early morning swimmer makes.Two kinds of fires, one literal and one figurative, were confounding me. The real thing? An electrical fire at a nearby Starwood hotel had relocated another conference (of electricians(!) – irony of ironies) to the Phoenician; causing us to shift half our rooms, re-visit the flow of our event, and re-print everything. It could, I suppose, have been much worse. The fire might have... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2014 at SemAngel
What are the top issues in Digital Analytics? It's hard to ignore the tidal wave that is big data, but Data Democratization, Optimization, Personalization and Talent are my top four choices. Here's why, along with the conversations at X Change that are worth joining if you agree... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2014 at SemAngel
Gary, I’ve written so much already, I hesitate to summarize the series as you suggested. The 8 points you pulled out do a pretty good job in and of themselves. Instead, let me focus on the 5 things companies can do right now to optimize their optimization program – and I will include some of the key themes and take-aways from our conversation. Stop listening to consultants. There is no such thing as “one-size-fits-all” best practices in digital optimization. Stop listening to consultants who try to tell you there is. Best practice blogs and books should be considered “one size... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2014 at SemAngel
Gary, I’m going to do my best to “bring it home” as you requested in your last post but that’s a lot to cover in a single post. Hopefully, I won’t lose folks along the way! Stick with me, everyone – I promise to make it worth your time. Measuring the success or ROI of any program or team can be challenging. Analytics teams have struggled with this for way longer than optimization teams have even been in existence so you know very well how challenging it can be to devise a way to measure both operational efficiency and impact.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2014 at SemAngel
With our much abbreviated timeline, now is indeed the time to register for X Change. What makes X Change special? The answer is simple. The format. When I started X Change eight years ago, my idea was pretty simple. I go to a lot of conferences. I speak at a lot of conferences. I’ve gotten to almost enjoy the speaking (I’m a nervous Nellie by nature) and I try to add real value. But sitting in an audience listening to anybody’s presentation is, even at its best, a somewhat dissatisfying experience. There are questions you’d like to ask, things you’d... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2014 at SemAngel
Kelly, It’s been hugely fun to do this this series (and the one on Personalization with Jim – who still owes me a post!) – so thanks. I don’t know about you, but the back-and-forth sure seems to make it easier to write this much content. As I mentioned offline, I’m hoping we can put all this together into a Whitepaper for Q4 as a little something to remember our initial Analytics Club foray by. Before we wrap up, though, there are a few final issues I wanted to get your thoughts on. I’ll start by picking up a thread... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2014 at SemAngel
Gary, Sorry for the delay in my reply! It’s not due to lack of interest, I assure you. In fact, your last post really hit the nail on the head of one of my biggest pet peeves around optimization programs – namely that they so often fail to recognize and/or adequately communication their incredibly important place within the analytics and business intelligence organizations. Advanced analytics are so important in understanding the past and present and in helping to guide what should be the focus of the future. But as you so rightly point out, you can only analyze data you... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2014 at SemAngel
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait (but not too long) It’s been a long wait, I know, but X Change registration is now open. So take a break from college football, grilling, and back to school and REGISTER NOW! Getting the Website up on the new architecture took a while, but all systems are go. We have the most Huddle sessions ever, an incredible array of topics, the usual A-List of enterprise measurement leaders across every industry, and a spectacular setting and venue to enjoy. If you're focused on digital analytics, this is the one Conference you should not... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2014 at SemAngel
Kelly, Terrific post. I think your five steps capture a large and important part of how enterprises ought to think about the integration of testing and analytics. Everything, from the deep integration of segmentation to the use of customer satisfaction impact is, I think, dead-on. In fact, I think we’ve done such a good job covering this that I want to delve into a slightly different topic; namely, the way that a testing program can be used by an analytics team (and an organization) to answer fundamental questions that are impossible to cull out of any analytics method, no matter... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2014 at SemAngel
Hey Gary – Whew! Back from my week long family vacation to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest beaches and ready to dig back in (after digging OUT from the work waiting upon my return). I’ve read through your most recent post a few times to get me back on track and I think I’ve answered all the lingering questions in this post – though don’t hesitate to call me out if I miss something. I am still at least partly day dreaming of the windy, cloudy, beautiful shores of Washington. Let’s start with your assertion that a good creative brief... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2014 at SemAngel
Jim, Great post – there is so much stuffed in here that I hardly know where to begin. Like deciding which present to open on a particularly good Christmas morning! Maybe here: “Real-time decisioning probably isn’t over-rated but real-time scoring is.” I think that’s a good re-statement and, in fact, I think it’s true to the original intent of what you wrote. Real-time scoring is at the heart of most fancy personalization solutions, but because it involves some pretty daunting technical challenges, it usually ends up being both difficult and expensive. So if you’re right and it can be dispensed... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at SemAngel
Hi Gary – First off, and I am being dead serious, is Kelly outsourcing her blogging efforts? Because she is killing me so far in this endeavor, there has to be a team of writers at her disposal or something. All I have is the infinite monkey theorem at work (hence the delay in my retort). To answer your first question, YES! Cardinality is key. If you only have 3 possible offers then it’s not hard to use your run of the mill testing platform and do a hack job to pipe in nightly model scores as one of the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2014 at SemAngel
Whew. This keeping up with the Joneses (or Wortham’s and Hazen’s) is hard! I know I keep promising that we’ll move on to discussing how analytics should drive testing and get past the ways it doesn’t (and I’m hoping this post will be transitional to that), but I can’t help myself from throwing out a few more thoughts around creative briefs. I liked your thoughts on telling a story – particularly around audience segments and use cases. No big surprise. That’s how our two-tiered segmentation is supposed to work and it’s specifically meant to find and help flesh out testing... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2014 at SemAngel
Jim, You’re right, of course, the vast majority of companies don’t do even the most basic personalization. Given that, I think you’re point about real-time decisioning is intriguing. You said: “I honestly think true real-time decisioning is overrated unless you are in select industries. I really do. I think you can do a lot with nightly models and reference the scores in conjunction with rules you have set that are grounded in behavioral analysis. Often that stuff probably doesn’t drastically change intra-day.” I think that’s huge. I laid out a ton of different personalization options in some earlier posts and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2014 at SemAngel