May 19, 2020

Mixpanel: 2020 Data Predictions

Digital Transformation
Adam Kinney
5 min
Mixpanel: 2020 Data Predictions

Adam Kinney, Head of Machine Learning and Automated Insights at Mixpanel talks to Business Chief about his predictions for the data industry for 2020.

2020 is just around the corner and as we are approaching the New Year, we are looking at some of the most significant data analytics trends that will transform how businesses use data. 

Data has become the mantra for success of innovative businesses a long time ago and next year this trend will continue to accelerate and evolve, bringing in more innovation and more sophisticated approaches to data analytics than ever before. Here are some of these trends:

Augmented Analysis will drive adoption of new approaches to analytics such as causal inference

Augmented analytics uses machine learning and AI to understand complex patterns across data sets and user behaviours to more quickly and accurately answer questions. One key new development in this area will be causal inference. Causal inference is the next big thing in analytics. The idea is to use advanced statistical methods to isolate the most likely causes for particular user behavior. For instance, people who frequently write product reviews buy more online than people who do not write reviews. However, this correlation may be caused by different factors such as review writers being more loyal to the brand, so encouraging brand loyalty may be a better approach to increasing sales and revenue than encouraging people to write more reviews. Traditionally, the only way to isolate these causal relationships is by running a controlled A/B experiment, which is both costly and time-consuming. If businesses are able to isolate the three most likely out of ten possible causes without running an A/B experiment, a lot would be gained. This will simplify decision-making processes and help product teams prioritise. It would also allow companies to better allocate their data analysis resources.

There will be a stronger focus on localised data strategies

Geographic relevance to data privacy is becoming increasingly important. While large, multi-national privacy regulations such as GDPR or major laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) make headlines, there are many smaller, regional laws and customs that are often overlooked. For instance, apart from the European Union’s GDPR regulatory framework on data privacy, each of the 28 member states has their own data privacy rules. Similarly, in the US a growing number of states are considering introducing data privacy rules that all have unique regulatory features. 

This explosion in regional privacy laws has left many companies wondering how to navigate these differences. In 2020 we’ll see a growing number of local and regional data privacy regulations across the world, which is likely to force global businesses to adopt localized data privacy strategies involving regional data residency programs. In this scenario, personal information will be stored within a specific geography where that data is processed in accordance with the local laws, customs, and expectations. 

The rise of intelligence augmentation

Today everyone talks about AI and while we are a long way from true artificial intelligence, machine learning in analytics can help people make smarter decisions today. For example, machine learning algorithms can monitor all of your business metrics and automatically alert you when they change in an interesting way that you’d want to see. Or if you notice yourself that a critical metric has dropped but you don’t know why, machine learning algorithms can sift through the thousands of possible causes to identify the cause for you. 

In we look even further, we can identify a few other key areas where AI can augment human intelligence. In 2020 and beyond, AI will become more widely used for visual recognition and natural language processing, which is the ability to understand human language. One of the most immediate applications is an area called sentiment analysis, in which the AI can judge how someone is feeling by analysing their speech. Companies can apply this type of analytics to customer service to spot when a customer is getting angry and prevent issues that can damage the relationship with the brand. 


AI will help drive more sophisticated predictions

Then there’s predictions. Predictive analytics tools look at historical data and use machine learning to identify patterns in the data that have a high probability of predicting an outcome. These patterns are used to create a model, and the model is used to predict an outcome from new data that becomes available.

In 2020 predictions like this will become more powerful as companies are able to combine data sources. For instance, they’ll be able to take their user behaviour data and combine it with their analysis from the customer calls, customer support, and use that to make more accurate predictions about customer behavior. Going a step further, AI and ML will be increasingly used to personalise products and service and tailor the user experience to the specific needs of the customer.

The growth of connected devices will drive stronger demand for IoT analytics

The IoT industry is expected to reach $1.29 trn in 2020 and there are already more IoT devices than there are smartphones. This means more complex data sets and in greater volumes of data than ever before. This new environment demands tools and skill sets that most companies don’t yet have and they often have difficulty adapting without IoT analytics.

In the consumer space, companies will use IoT analytics to mine data with the permission of their users. This includes data from mobile apps, fitness trackers, mobile devices, vehicles, and appliances. The same way that companies can track user behavior online, IoT analytics offers insight into how consumers use products in the physical world. This will enable consumer companies can provide increasingly personalised services and users get a better experience.

In the B2B space, IoT analytics will help drive greater productivity, reduce errors, improve understanding of smart city infrastructure and drive efficiency improvements. 

As our world is becoming increasingly connected, data will become ubiquitous and more sophisticated. Understanding how this will impact businesses will be key for making the most of this opportunity and creating better user experiences. 

For more information on business topics in the United States, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief USA.

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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