The morning of 24th September started with a thought provoking session, when Mr. Siddhartha Roy, General Manager, Advanced Analytics & Cognitive Solutions at IBM, visited IME Department of IIT Kanpur for a session on Advanced Analytics, Big Data and recent trends. An alumnus of IIT Kanpur, Mr. Roy started by defining consulting as a guiding force for thinking right in order to bring out best solution for a set of defined problems. Talking about ‘data’, he said it has both quantitative and qualitative parts, and knowing how both of these match is the key to understanding it.
Mr. Roy mentioned how every problem or case starts as a nebulous one. To emphasis his point and to impart an approach to students for tackling real life business problems, he carried out an interesting activity by dividing the students into groups and presenting them with a problem faced by a certain company having dipping market share of its products. With the required focus on the market metrics used to analyse the data, each group presented their approach towards solving the case. After all the groups presented, Mr. Roy explained about use of four core metrics in analysis, which was certainly a great insight for the students.
Diving into the technicalities, Mr. Roy talked about data analytics being used for finding relationship between cause and effect which has wide applications in the field of direct marketing, forecasting, identifying critical influencing drivers and segmentation. He talked about the tools used for analytics such as R, SAS, gretl, MS Excel, Hadoop, python, etc.
Mr. Roy talked about continuum of advanced analytics which includes Descriptive, Predictive and Prescriptive analytics. Talking about the phenomenal growth of analytics and its usage in the business world, he mentioned about data analytics being used in surveys, tapping into transnational data, social media, and marketing. Mr. Roy further illustrated on how something conventionally thought of as an unrelated factor can have a huge impact such as weather can actually affect sales and businesses as a whole.
From the business point of view, behind all the jargon's, the essence of analytics boils down to making and saving money. It was interesting to know how big names like P&G, Amazon, Google, Netflix use data analytics on an extensive scale to leverage their competitive advantage and base critical decisions on the results obtained from such studies. Moving into an era of competitive analytics, Mr. Roy gave examples from the business world of P&G and Walmart using analytics for supply chain and consumer behavior, MCI using data analytics for networking and pricing, etc.
Mr Roy, a true expert in the field, parted with some pearls of wisdom by advising those interested in analytics to pursue it passionately, as this path can be unforgiving and requires one to keep learning, keeping the inquisitive child alive and letting the creative juices to flow.