Johannesburg, 29 June 2018 – South African businesses are aware of the urgent need to establish a data-to-action pathway but sometimes fall short when it comes to taking this forward, according to David Coleman, Chief Data Officer at Experian SA.

According to a 2017 published Forrester report commissioned by Experian*, South African organisations rated improving the customer experience (90%), providing better insight of customers (87%), organisational agility to respond to emerging competitors (85%) and enhanced cyber fraud mitigation capabilities (84%) as priorities. Also on the list was the adoption of advanced analytics (74%). 

However, many of these priorities are challenged by the increased exposure to cybercrime (74%), the lack of expertise and technology infrastructure to incorporate machine learning and to exploit big data potential (66%), as well as new competitors in the space (62%). 

“This barrage of needs versus challenges in this industry can easily force businesses into a state of inaction where they are unable to make clear decisions which can help drive their data-driven strategy from start to finish,” says Coleman. He adds that like any business plan, clear objectives for analytics projects are required. This includes excellent data management of structured and unstructured data to unlock information, and to gain meaningful insights to better win, serve and retain customers.

However, Coleman cautions that in today’s evolving environment of digitalisation and increased regulatory burdens, traditional approaches to analytics and the tools in place are no longer enough to create deeper, forward-looking business and customer insights.

Enter the ‘systems-of-insights strategy’. According to ‘Leveraging advanced analytics to boost growth’, a Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper commissioned by Experian, this approach enables firms to focus on actions that drive high-priority outcomes. These then also need to be tracked and measured to understand the actions’ effectiveness and to gauge if further data and insights are required.

“Although this strategy relies on technology, an ‘insights-to-execution’ process also involves people processes as much as analytics software,” says Coleman. He adds that such an operating model can deliver real insights in real time. 

One of the ways that businesses can achieve this is through nearshoring where external sources can provide the analytics support required by businesses, and act as an advantage for those dealing with competing imperatives. These can also turn data into action to retain and grow a digitally savvy customer base for companies that lack internal skills and resources.

Nearshoring also carries an advantage for short- and medium-term resourcing needs. These arrangements can bridge the gap where data scientists and experienced analytical talent are needed. Nearshoring partners also enable proximity to the market of need, and the time of need. Finally, this can help to bear the burden of demanding regulation.

“Firms are able to take advantage of the knowledge transfer and regulatory expertise provided by nearshoring analytical functions and those of local subject matter experts,” says Coleman.

However, like any strategic partnership, communication and clarity are key.

“Open conversations with qualified strategic partners, clarity on resources and clear expectations for delivery and timeframes, will see nearshoring deliver strategic advantages for firms looking to overhaul their analytics capabilities and data-insight-action to better serve customers,” ends Coleman.


* ‘The New Frontier: Unlocking the power of data’ study was conducted by Forrester Consulting on Experian’s behalf among 590 C-level professionals and functional leads across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The study focused on traditional brick-and-mortar organisations in the financial services, retail and telecommunications services. Respondents were responsible for, or had a significant role in, the decision-making process for enterprise risk, analytics, customer data management, fraud management, and customer data management. The auxiliary custom survey was completed in June 2017. This is the second annual industry report by Forrester for Experian.

Prepared by Meropa Communications on behalf of Experian SA

Lianne Osterberger
Experian South Africa
+27 11 799 3434
011 799 3434

Rebecca Rabodiba
Meropa Communications
011 506 7300

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