In an interview with Analytics India Magazine, Anunay speaks about Marketelligent, the firm that he co-founded in 2007. Marketelligent has the singular mission of enabling its Clients to make the most of their information. Founded by professionals with over 50 years of combined experience in multinationals across continents and across industries, Marketelligent is the preferred partner for Business Analytics spanning multiple industries – Financial Services, CPG, Retail, Media, Telecom, etc.
[dropcap style=”1″ size=”2″]AIM[/dropcap]Analytics India Magazine: Please brief us about some business solutions you work on and how you derive value out of it.
[dropcap style=”1″ size=”2″]AG[/dropcap]Anunay Gupta: We are essentially a consulting firm. In that we help our clients solve their business problems – be it increasing revenues by cross-selling more products to their existing customers; or reducing expenses by optimizing their operations. In the end, we provide what I call is ‘Operational Consulting’. This differ from the strategic consulting that some of the more marquee names provide; but the trend has been that even the big names are moving into our domain now. We approach analytic as a means to solving a client’s business problem.
AIM: How does a typical requirement gathering to delivery cycle looks like for you?
AG: It all starts with a crisp understanding of the business problem and the point-of-arrival. Once this is clear to both us and the client, we go about identifying the appropriate analytical framework that we will use, data requirements, the appropriate technical resources we will need, and the engagement model. In this process, we never lose sight of the key objective that we are trying to tackle. Everything else revolves around that.
AIM: Please brief us about the size of your analytics division and what is hierarchal alignment, both depth and breadth.
AG: We are a team of 50; and in such an organization no hierarchies exist. Everyone contributes to their maximum at their level; and anyone is free to come and chat with me or my partner regarding anything – be it an analytical framework to solving a problem, or a performance issue with their subordinates (or superiors), or the latest in sports. Obviously, we do have a formal structure in terms of a reporting relationship. We are fortunate enough to have Associates with great strength in business knowledge and Associates who are strong technically. It is rare to find a person with both skills; but we have a few of those also.
AIM: Would you like to share any example of an Insight that generated a huge positive impact for your clients?
AG: We were working with a retailer and we found that Customers who were shipped their order late by a few days ended up buying less in the future. This was an eye-opener to the client and they re-engineered their order fulfillment process to minimize late shipments. Fairly obvious to me as a customer, but having data behind it substantiated the hypothesis and led to a business change.
AIM: Do you think it’s possible to become too married to the data that comes out of analytics? Where do you draw the line?
AG: Data is essential to analytics; however it is imperative we not get lost in it; but try to find the 1-2 key things that actually matter to the business. This begins with having a hypothesis or a gut feel; proving or disproving it based on data and analytics.
AIM: What are a few things that organizations should be doing with their analytics efforts that most don’t do today?
AG: Most businesses today still run on managers intuitions. I think this works most of the time as managers have built up experience and expertise over time. However in a hyper-competitive world, where everyone is trying to gain a few bps of market share, analytics starts to play a key role in helping businesses make the quantum jump. Companies that don’t adapt will be left behind.
AIM: What are some of the data measurement points that are becoming more important for organizations?
AG: Getting to the fundamental drivers of business is key. For example a business could be measuring Customer Satisfaction but if it is not able to relate changes in customer satisfaction to the key drivers behind it, there is no leverage. For a typical retailer, the driver of customer satisfaction might be % of time a Customer could not find the right product in stock, time spent at the check-out line, % orders returned and the reason for the return, etc. Its critical to measure and monitor these drivers over time and adjust the business accordingly.
AIM: What are the most significant challenges you face being in the forefront of analytics space?
AG: It is always tough to win new clients as most businesses today do not have a budget uniquely allocated for analytics. Unlike the IT industry where budgets run in the billions of dollars, the analytics industry still has to steal budgets from the other marketing spends!
AIM: How did you start your career in analytics?
AG: At Amercian Express in risk management. A great place to learn the fundamentals of how to leverage data for business decisioning.
AIM: What kind of knowledge worker do you recruit and what is the selection methodology? What skill sets do you look at while recruiting in analytics?
AG: We seek folks who have a good grasp of technical fundamentals and who can relate to the business problem being solved from a technical perspective.
AIM: How do you see Analytics evolving today in the industry as a whole? What are the most important contemporary trends that you see emerging in the Analytics space across the globe?
AG: Analytics will continue to gain importance over the next 10 years or so; we are in the nascent stages of this industry and I see a great future ahead. Businesses will continue to invest in data assets and data discovery.
AIM: Anything else you wish to add?
AG: We are always looking for 2 things that sustain us – clients who have a business problem to solve, and Associates who like to solve business problems. If you fall in either of the categories, please write to me at [email protected][divider top=”1″] [spoiler title=”Biography of Anunay Gupta” open=”0″ style=”2″]
Anunay is a firm believer in the use of information-based tools in driving strategic and tactical decisions across business critical functions: customer acquisitions, loyalty and retention, customer-level profitability, risk & decision management, CRM, operations, supply-chain, etc. Prior to Marketelligent, Anunay was VP, Decision Management at Citigroup.
Anunay is B.Tech from IIT Delhi, PhD from Penn State University and MBA from Stern School of Business. [/spoiler]