eMetrics Summit Interview Series: Gary Angel at EY
In anticipation of his presentation at eMetrics Summit in San Francisco, April 3-6, 2016, we asked Gary Angel, Partner at EY, a few questions about pursuing digital marketing efficiency and effectiveness. Check out his interview in relation to his eMetrics Summit presentation entitled, Digital Transformation with Analytics.
Q: Where does digital analytics sit in your organization and how does it interface with your business units?
A: Well, we’re a consultancy so it’s not really comparable to the enterprise. We’re part of a larger Advanced Analytics and Information Management Team. That’s interesting only because there’s also a separate digital team here which we interface with a lot but aren’t directly under.
Q: What’s the most valuable thing you learned in 2015? What’s the most important goal/trend for digital analysts to keep in mind as they look ahead to 2016?
A: I think my biggest take-away from the last year has been around analytics culture. I’m not really a “culture” guy – not because I don’t think it’s vital but because it’s so often just an excuse for squishy thinking and bromides. But I’ve come to think there are some very specific changes that an enterprise can make that actually help build an analytics culture. They aren’t the kind of things that people normally associate with building culture either – stuff like executive commitment.
For the coming year, my big focus is on digital transformation – why so many large enterprises aren’t very good at digital despite investing in the core pieces (technology, analytics, testing, etc.). I think that failure largely stems from the way enterprises organize and use those capabilities not the functions themselves – and I think a big trend for 2016 will be how to organize successfully to actually drive digital.
Q: What’s the latest analytics method/process/tool set that you have implemented and what advice would you give others?
A: We’re doing a lot of work in the open-source stack – Hadoop primarily – which is both challenging and rewarding. We’ve also been experimenting with Google’s open source TensorFlow release. I think there’s a lot of potential to improve digital analytics methods (which mostly stink) using some machine learning techniques. It’s not a slam dunk and you have to think carefully about how you’re going to adapt the digital data to these analysis methods in a way that takes advantage of what they actually do.
Q: What do you wish you could tell your five-years-ago self about this industry?
A: Other than some stock picks? How about “Don’t worry – you won’t be bored.” I love the pace of change in digital analytics and digital in general. Not everything changes nearly as fast as I think it will (I’m looking at you personalization and you mobile analytics), but there are always massive changes that nobody sees coming (who would’ve believed five years ago that cognitive would be back and almost real this time)!
Q: Sneak preview: Please tell us a take-away that you will provide during your talk at the eMetrics Summit.
A: How you can address the biggest gap in even most sophisticated organizations when it comes to analytics – namely, using analytics to drive strategic decisions not just tactical ones. I’ll be focusing on how organizations (don’t) use analytics for decision-making and how they can using analytics, experimentation, customer engineering and VoC in a fundamentally different way that is far more likely to support strategic decision-making. If you don’t walk away with at least 3-4 new ideas for supporting strategic decisioning, I’ll be pretty disappointed.