Roads and Horses - An Analogy for Hyper-Personalisation Adoption

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

A Good Context is Also a Good Teacher

It is not an easy task to explain how the new generation of analytics compares to the current one.

It is like trying to explain how a car would be a better alternative to a horse, but a century ago. Can you imagine that? Cars were slower than horses, they couldn’t go everywhere where horses could, they were way more expensive, required constant maintenance, they were hard to start and to maintain, not reliable, needed gas – which was hard to get, and no one knew how to drive them. More? They were not fancy, looked like if the carriage was missing the presence of magnificent horses, all towns and cities were already prepared for horses – in London you can still find places for horses to rest, and the engineering was too complex to be understood, which meant cars were seen as a questionable asset to have - in comparison to horses.

Now, let’s imagine you at that time, responding to an argument that the world needs to switch to a new way of transportation. On top of that, imagine yourself arguing that, in order to give a car some use, you would also need to put an extraordinary amount of investment of money and time to build roads for them, everywhere. Why do we need to invest into roads, you would say, if horses can get us anywhere we want? - Let the cars be with their own problems! It sounds like another trend for people to waste money…

Analytics of the next generation is likely the roads of that that time. Initially it seems a useless investment combined with an extraordinary amount of effort for just a little improvement. But roads and cars changed everything. They changed the world, indeed. As the new analytics - also called AI - also will.

As cars required roads to be fully explored as a more efficient transport, the new digital world - based on data - will require a new generation of analytics to be fully achieved.

Let me go deeper in this subject.

The world is being continuously disrupted, whether we want it or not. It is happening right now, just in front of our eyes. Let me give you an example of the power of such disruption. Communication technologies created truly disrupting hype. It happened on a such profound level that nowadays we can barely imagine a different world, other than being hyper-connected. People can stay connected and talk to each other at such ease and with such low expenses, that it would be difficult to imagine this just 20 years ago. How did it happen? - First gradually and then abruptly, until it became our new norm, and with time, even our new need.

A big example nowadays is what’s happening with the digital human experiences in the entertainment industry (movies, music, books). It is extraordinary how they are introducing to us the first concepts of hyper-personalisation using data. Of course, Amazon, Netflix, Uber and Spotify come to mind straight away. And this is the key factor for their success: online personalisation on an individual level. Even if they have millions of customers. Only their advanced level analytics and plenty of strategically managed data could do it for them.

The next big shift we see happening is in healthcare. We are going towards a massive change in hyper-personalisation of patients, in such areas like treatment services or new drugs research - and it has already started happening.

The financial industry is obvious to be disrupted too. You might say, it is happening already, and you are right. But it will be more disruptive than we can imagine on the surface. Companies like Ant Finance, Stripe, niche FinTech’s, and so many others are shaking this industry on a profound level, and stared giving us a financial experience never imagined before.

Some might say that many banks are already analysing their clients individually to offer better services. But, come on, I am not talking about analysing profiles and predict customer preferences to offer the best available products. It is not customer-centricity, it is product (or company) centricity to increase sales figures. Creating personalised experiences goes far beyond that. Remember the roads needed to substitute the horses with cars? Good, so stay with me. Now we are getting there.

Today, some companies use analytics to offer the best products, or those that clients would statistically be more open to accept - and call it customer centricity. Even being massively discussed, this is a point that most companies are still struggling to achieve. Actually, is can be called target marketing. If Mr. Henry Ford allows me to use his example, seems that we are still looking for faster horses with that approach.

In the future, besides individual initiatives of disruptive Fintech's, there will be three main disruptive reasons for a massive change in the financial sector: Open Banking, Responsible AI and Hyper-Personalisation, or the real customer-centricity. And for this article I will focus on the latter one.

A new way of looking at customer centricity is needed.

Today we have customers, and we have products. In the digital - and successful - world products adapt to clients in a symbiotic way, on an individual level. It will become the ultimate objective of every company to succeed digitally.

It works like this. We need to act in two ways, from both, customer, and product sides, at the same time, in order to create real individualised experience.

From one side, we must develop advanced analytics to learn what our customers like and don’t like, and what statistically they are more likely to do in the future. And these models should self-learn with every single decision from our customers.

With that in hands, our products and services should adapt to these customer behaviours in real-time. Not a matching, but an entire product malleability in the search – or following – of their way of living, behaviour, habits, and singular moments in life.

Let me give a couple of examples. What if your credit card adapts to your financial status, giving you mileage plans when you are traveling or turning it to cashback and increase your limit if you start having financial problems or travel less? What if your car insurance activates itself for you, in different ways when you drive to the supermarket or when you drive abroad? What if your credit card insurance activates specifically to allow you to purchase a car online? And the examples are endless.

Now, if you are the company offering these adaptable services, how can you manage to offer millions of different variations of your products and services to your clients, especially having millions of variations in pricing? Millions of different warranties? Products charged by minute or hours? Personalisation in logistics, accounting, finance, metrics, and valuation of a business will change with this approach. No pressure!

You might ask, so what about the data? I liked that you remembered that ‘detail’. And we will discuss this topic in another article about open-banking and multiple sources of data. But I can bring a spoiler, by saying that the answer lies in multi-layer analytics – a technology that we are developing right now.

There are only two things you need to do to succeed in a customer-centric world:

Number one. Understand that you should start building roads despite of the existence of horses. It means, work with your data from the best strategic view you can have for the future of your business! Forget the IT guys (sorry guys!). Take it for yourselves, my fellow leaders!

Number one. Understand that you should start building roads despite of the existence of transportation with horses. It means, work with your data from the best strategic view you can have for the future of your business! Forget the IT guys (sorry guys!). Take it for yourselves, my fellow leaders! In order to have successful digital business, you need the analytics working for you on your data.

Number two. Rethink your products and services to be adaptable to your

clients in real-time. Only AI can make it happen for you. You do not need to understand AI, only the possibilities that it creates. Customers and products are now symbiotic in their experience relationship. You cannot push products to clients anymore. The same customer is now everywhere digitally. This is the reason of the fact that the battle is not for new accounts anymore. The battle now is for you to bring clients’ attention to your services and make them active, and loyal, through personalised experiences.

And this is the world we are building right now at London Analytics. We believe it will change everything.

Join us!

Pablo Morales, CEO, London Analytics

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