Creating Business Values through Machine Learning - Kishore Rajgopal

Kishore Rajgopal, Founder and CEO, NextOrbit conducted an interactive workshop on Machine Learning and it's application in business. Kishore has previously been associated with big names like Crowd Analytix, HCL, Capgemini and Infosys. An entrepreneur by profession, he loves to inspire people and bring out the best in them.

The format of the workshop was designed to maximize learning outcomes through a one to one interaction between the participants and the instructor. Participants were presented with a business problem of an E-commerce firm. The role of the participants was to help the firm resolve their problem of falling sales. The pattern adopted by Kishore was to split the participants into groups and perform a role play. The key ingredients of the problem involved

1.     Understanding and paraphrasing the problem in the right manner

2.     Critically examining the factors contributing to the problem

3.     Providing recommendations to resolve the above factors

4.     Examining the data required to arrive at a solution

5.     Delving into methods and techniques that could be applied to the problem

The participants were asked to brainstorm on the above points and come up with their solutions.

The whole process led to a flow of ideas at various levels of understanding. Participants came up with their unique solutions which were highly appreciated by Kishore.

Overall, the session introduced participants to the concept of Machine Learning and how it is helping businesses get automated these days. To put it simply,  Machine Learning is about putting data into a Loop Learning system. Machine Learning Algorithms are built in a way that it automatically takes the feedback from the new data generated and refines the model. The above exercise worked as a foundation for what is to follow in the coming sessions which would dwell more on the concepts of Machine learning.   

Compiled by Jagtar Dua for Analytics Training Institute

Photo by Jens Kreuter on Unsplash

Analytics and eCommerce: More than just Recommendation Engines - Vikram Jain

Last Saturday’s Guest Lecture, at the ATI centre, on Analytics in eCommerce delivered by Vikram Jain, was high on interaction and participation. Doing away with the conventional presentation format using a projector, it was back to the white board- rudimentary but sometimes more effective. Vikram started off by spelling out the entire framework on eCommerce & Analytics-with active inputs from the participants.

Vikram went on to talk about how the modern approach to eCommerce, using Analytics & Big Data, has revolutionised the business landscape. Unlike the previous approach of relying on standard practices & intuition, it’s now possible to measure the exact business impact of every decision & action.

Backed by his extensive experience in retail, eCommerce & analytics, Vikram asked some basic questions which opened up the frontier to a more in-depth analysis.

1. What are the factors that made eCommerce surge far ahead of traditional retail?

2. How has eCommerce affected customer acquisition cost?

3. What is the scope of Analytics in eCommerce?

4. How is Analytics currently being deployed in eCommerce?

5. How is customer data being collected & utilised for a more personalised shopping experience?

6. How will Big Data & Analytics evolution impact eCommerce in the future?

This kind of an interactive & conversational approach to the session opened up the floor from the word go & instantly drew the participants in. The amazing part was that for every clarification sought by the audience Vikram always had specific examples to drive the point home.

Vikram then went onto talk about the Gateway to Higher Conversions in eCommerce.

It all starts with a robust data collection process and everything follows from there.

Vikram outlined the most pertinent tools of the trade, right from Google Analytics & AdWords to SAS, Hadoop & beyond. It was a revelation to many to know how Analytics is being used at every interface and in every action, no matter how insignificant it might seem. Take the example of an eCommerce website. Different customers engage with a retail site in different ways. Right from the layout of the website, the sections to include, the content on each page, the number and types of promotional offers to run etc., every step is experimented and carefully analysed to create the highest possible customer engagement and acquisition. Traditional approaches to customer segmentation and targeting are being rebuilt on a foundation of Data Analytics.

It is even possible to track & acquire customer data real-time. It is possible to physically watch how people shop on the eStore, just like in a traditional brick and mortar store.

But it doesn’t end there. The entire customer engagement spreads far beyond just a website to encompass multiple Social Media platforms, Mobile Apps, Emails, Search Engine Visibility and links on other relevant websites. And that is why the scope of Analytics in eCommerce is truly mammoth.

The power of Predictive Analytics is harnessed to learn what products a customer would most likely buy in future. It shifts the game from a reactive to a proactive one, how customer service could be optimized to resolve concerns before they become issues. Predictive analytics helps look at all the different variables to generate the most desirable shopping experience for the customer. Recommendation engines, fuelled by Analytics, go on to display & highlight the goods that a particular customer might be interested in and the offers that will most likely entice him or her.

Another important concept covered was the Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) vs the Lifetime Value of the Customer (LVC), how these two provide the basis for estimating the duration and cost of engagement and how they go on to decide how much and how long a specific customer should be engaged with. In most cases, if the CAC is more than the LVC, it is obviously not prudent to concentrate on retaining that customer any more.

Finally Vikram pointed out how Analytics in eCommerce is not limited to just online and mobile activities. Everything from Supply Chain Management and Inventory Optimisation to Shipping & Returns, are nestled on a bed of powerful Analytics tools & techniques to generate maximum possible value at every stage.

In conclusion, the session was an eye-opener for the entire audience who only had a limited idea about eCommerce and its analytical aspects. The icing on the cake was that Vikram managed to sustain a high level of enthusiasm throughout. Every query was attended to and that itself opened up the audience to ask and discuss more. The audience really appreciated that level of interactivity.

Vikram Jain’s talk on Analytics and eCommerce is part of ATI’s Guest Lecture programme which is a platform for Analytics professionals to learn and interact with Analytics experts across different industries and domains.

About Vikram Jain

Vikram Jain has over 15 years of experience in various domains, primarily in the Retail, consumer goods and eCommerce sectors.

Prior to venturing out on his own, Virkam worked at Flipkart where he was the Associate Director of Retail. As an entrepreneur, he has founded 2 companies and is currently working on his next venture. He has extensive experience in Analytics and its deployment in retail & eCommerce domains.

Analytics in the Industry - Siddhartha Roy

Although Siddartha Roy’s Guest Lecture was titled ‘Analytics in the industry’, it was one exhaustive session that touched almost every aspect of Analytics, from its evolution to its future. The audience learnt way more than they had anticipated and they really appreciated the intensive knowledge session.

The lecturer started out by delineating the absolute basics like how numbers are the The Universal Language of Measures. This also makes them The Universal Language of Cause & Effect which eventually gives birth to patterns. He defined Analytics as finding the relationship/path of Cause to Effect. This was a novel and fascinating exposition of the topic, one that no one in the audience had encountered before.

After explaining how and why Data and Analytics has boomed, he outlined their universal applications in every business faction. From there he dived into the depths of ‘The Genesis of Analytics’ and the ‘Evolution of Analytics’ and their utilization of Data & Techniques. 

The entire presentation was jam-packed with lots of data, scenarios, data visualisations, examples and practical applications. Some of the important topics that the audience lapped up were:

1. Winning in the Real-time Economy

2. The Agile Culture

3. Why Analytics is both a scientific and a creative process

4. Are we aligned for Analytics?

5. What should we do with Analytics?

6. What is Analytical Competition about?

7. Analytical Competitors & Their Major Turnaround in Strategy & Culture

8. The Money Making Approach of Analytical Competitors

9. The Changing Analytical Landscape

10. How Analytics hinges on ‘Kick-Ass’ Leadership

11. Key Usage Patterns for Big Data & Analytics

12. Actionable Customer Insights Using Big Data & Analytics

13. Predictive Asset Optimization

14. Career Options in Analytics

15. Next Steps for an Analytical Success Story

As you can well imagine from the above, there was a lot of ground covered but it was lucid enough for the audience to easily grasp.

To find out more about Siddhartha, you can view his profile on LinkedIn.

The Evolution of Digital Analytics - Ahmad Abdullah

Ahmad Abdullah’s Guest Lecture topic “The Evolution of Digital Analytics” promised to be a much needed primer on the advent of analytics and its rapid spread to encompass every business faction including eCommerce. Currently working at LinkedIn, it was a matter of great pride for us at ATI to have Ahmad address our students, more so since he had previously interned at Redwood Associates, the parent company of ATI.

He started the session by outlining how the advent of eCommerce and digital platforms for marketers and advertisers spearheaded the huge and essential phenomena that is Analytics today. He spoke in depth about how modern businesses leverage Analytics in the digital realm to create the elusive but much needed competitive advantage.

Although every member in the audience knew the basic concepts of the Digital Analytics space, they benefited a lot from the in-depth knowledge of modern digital paradigms.

Apart from the coverage of the broad topics, the following were delved deep into:

1. Website analytics

2. How every step is important to attract traffic and have at least a 2% conversion ratio

3. Insights on major eCommerce sites like Amazon & Flipkart and their business analytics strategies

4. How the choice of digital platforms affect customer behaviour

5. How Ads & clicks generate quantitative insights on the effectiveness of particular business methodologies

In conclusion, it was a comprehensive, useful and informative session by Ahmad. No matter the individual knowledge level of each audience member, the guest lecture garnered new concepts for each and everyone.

To find out more about Ahmad, you can view his profile on LinkedIn. 

 

Photo by Bruno Gomiero on Unsplash

 

A Scientific and Systematic Approach to understanding one’s purpose in life - Pavan Gupta

 

Pavan Gupta’s Guest Lecture generated a lot of curiosity and interest among our students.

The session itself was unique due to the fact that it was more along the lines of a workshop. Pavan distributed questionnaires about education and career choices throughout one’s life among the audience and they were quickly drawn in to this format. Working on their own scenarios was extremely exciting to the audience and each and every individual member participated in it.

Using examples from the student’s responses, he pointed out the discrepancy between target and achievement and how to cover the gap. He emphasized that everyone should remember their past as a beacon to keep them on their right path and try not to stray from their overall goal.

 

Photo by Tim Swaan on Unsplash

Retail sales forecasting using Ensemble Time Series model - Himan Mookherjee

The Guest Lecture topic for this session was one of our most technical ever, but for the students of analytics, it was an extremely beneficial one. At ATI we strongly abide by the maxim that Analytics learning extends far beyond the confines of books and theories and Himan Mukherjee’s session helped drive this point home.

The technical points covered in the lecture were forecasting and its applications in retail as well as advanced concepts in time series analysis. Specific industry scenarios were appreciated by the audience and they were riveted during the entire class.

To find out more about Himan, you can view his profile on LinkedIn.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

 

Maximizing Career ROI through Analytics - Pramod Menon

When it comes to the subject of Analytics and its Career Prospects, there is no student of Analytics who wouldn’t be interested. That is why Pramod Menon’s Guest Lecture on Maximising Career ROI through Analytics garnered a lot of interest among the students of AT.

But there is no taking away from the fact that even an exciting topic can be rendered boring if the lecturer, no matter how qualified, is not adept at teaching. Fortunately for us, Pramod Menon’s lecture was the exact opposite. It was one of our most interactive sessions ever. Pramod added a new element of excitement to his lecture, by gifting prizes to students who asked the most intelligent questions. It helped pump up the energy in the room, in addition to creating a unique experience for the students.

Pramod Menon began the lecture by laying emphasis on the fact that, in career choices, the brand value of the employer organization is extremely important while starting out as well as for one’s future career development. He enunciated that while it is important to switch organizations for growth in career and remuneration, it should be timed well. He had his own career progress to lend veracity to this.

The Lecturer successfully covered not only the rudimentary aspects of Career and Analytics, he opened up a lot of other dimensions related to them. It provided new insights and perspectives on the topic and created new vistas of thought patterns.

To find out more about Pramod, you can view his profile on LinkedIn.

Photo by Oscar Nilsson on Unsplash

A Careers in Analytics - Vijaya Ghosh

For our students who have completed their Analytics education or are still pursuing it, there is no topic more interesting and relevant than Careers opportunities in Analytics.

Vijaya Ghosh, our guest lecturer, had a very difficult task, to clarify each and every doubt and meet the stringent expectations of the audience. But she managed to do it wonderfully. The audience was hooked in fast and hard. She started the lecture by addressing rudimentary concepts like Opportunity, Career Paths and Typical Skill Requirements, but took those topics much farther and deeper than their conventional definitions and focused on new perspectives as well.

Since the topic involved Analytics, throughout the session she had lots of pertinent data to corroborate everything she was saying. And that was enough to raise and sustain the interest level of the entire audience throughout the lecture.

The data included:

1. What is the Opportunity in Analytics?

2. New Analytics Jobs by Industry

3. Career Paths

4. Three Key Areas of Expertise

5. Typical Career Timeline

6. Typical Skill Requirements

It was an exhaustive and comprehensive coverage of Analytics in the industry with a clear direction on how to capitalize on it.

In the Big Data career path section, she laid out the clear demarcation between Data Analytics and Big Data, with Big Data being much less technical. She broadly sectioned the Analytics industry into Three Key Areas of Expertise and what they entailed.

She finally closed the lecture by tabling the Typical Skill Requirements between Data Analysts, Business Analytics Professionals and the Predictive Analytics Professionals.

All in all, it was a very informative and much required topic that she elucidated on, resulting in an enthusiastic response from the audience.

To find out more about Vijaya, you can view her profile on LinkedIn.

 

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

 

A Start Up to Scale Up Story - Chetan Vinchhi

There was a lot of interest brewing for this topic as soon as this guest lecture was announced. The lecturer was Chetan Vinchhi, Cofounder of Lifetape Inc. Having successfully run and sold 4 startups and now running his fifth, he was amply suited to take up this topic & do justice to it.

The audience were all ears as soon as he started speaking. He brought up all the fundamental tenets of a startup and the skill set required to walk the entrepreneurship path. Although anybody with even an iota of interest in startups knows the basic concepts, Chetan gave a clever twist to that by going through a presentation of the myths vs the realities of startups. This myth buster approach was very engaging and the audience was literally at the edge of their seats. The lure of entrepreneurship, success, wealth and glamour is exceedingly exciting, especially now that startups have become so ubiquitous. But, as highlighted by Chetan, the only thing that matters, the only thing that should be the sole target, is sustainability. He said that the mortality rate of startups are much greater than 90% and by some estimates, even as high as 99.9%. Although the audience knew that a large number of startups fail soon after launch, they were astounded by the revelation of this high a ratio.

The audience learned all about the intricacies of seed funding, VC funding, angel investors and how to get funding. Chetan stressed that one of the prime principles is to increase network and gain visibility. For example, start asking 1 question at the start of any meeting/session to get noticed. Chetan has successfully sold 4 startups and is onto his 5th venture now. So there was no better candidate to disseminate the knowledge and wisdom on everything related to startups and entrepreneurship.

Over all, it was a splendid session judging the enthusiastic response of the audience. They went home with an in-depth perspective and understanding of the latest buzz-word that they had always heard but never had the opportunity to dive deep into its secrets.

To find out more about Chetan, you can view his profile on LinkedIn. 

 

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash