- A leading pharma company wanted to understand why patients tend to switch between different brands of drugs.
- A leading consumer packaged goods (CPG) player in the US wanted to construct customised marketing strategies specifically targeting second-generation bicultural Hispanics.
- A well-known technology service provider wanted to sell entertainment-related content through its app store and needed a detailed understanding on retail e-commerce trends and adoption of various payment platforms like mobile/digital wallets.
What these three diverse scenarios across industries have in common is that they are all clients of Course5 Intelligence, a Mumbai-headquartered digital analytics company, which uses a combination of human and machine intelligence to bring about effective outcomes for customers. In each of the above scenarios, Course5 did a deep dive into the required area and came up with relevant and timely insights and business intelligence, which helped the client make more informed choices.
“Course5 was formed with a vision to enable and drive digital transformation for organisations leveraging analytics, insights and artificial intelligence. Each of our solutions drives business value by driving additional revenue and optimising investments, along with scaling the objectives of digital transformation across the organisation,” says Ashwin Mittal, CEO of Course5.
According to him, the company’s “aha” moment came when they realised they were at the cusp of two major trends and were well-placed to capitalise on both. The first was that corporations were moving to digital streams to engage, acquire, transact with, and service customers. This led to the accumulation of massive amounts of data, which required the real-time application of analytics and lent itself very effectively to AI. The second was the rapid development of AI technology and deep learning, which blew open the opportunity to have a massive impact and provide transformative solutions. Plus, today the global data analytics market is valued at nearly $100 billion, and growing.
Why AI-based business intelligence platforms have an edge
“Today, machine intelligence, AI application and innovation have evolved to allow humans to focus on tasks or decisions that require application of thought and judgement. While machine intelligence can enable decisions for businesses, it is up to the individuals, who can either apply or leverage this intelligence combined with creativity and business acumen to make well-rounded and effective decisions,” says Ashwin.
Often, these are the decisions that can give the business a competitive edge. Since time is a valuable commodity in the current market, digital analytics offers insights much faster than traditional business intelligence can.
Ashwin says new AI-based analytics platforms such as theirs allow organisations to solve the two most critical issues in typical BI deployment, namely adoption and democratisation of data and insights at scale. One key product, which enables this is Course5 Discovery. Discovery is a natural language-based AI system that sits on top of the organisation’s data assets. It allows business users to ask the system questions via voice or chat, and the AI agent processes the required information and responds instantly in natural language.
“Our leadership in digital analytics and our focus on AI innovation give us an opportunity to grow our impact in the industry by many multiples in the coming years in a non-linear manner,” he says.
How SMBs can make the most of digital analytics
Course5 clients include global leaders such as Lenovo and Microsoft, and other big names across industries. While larger enterprises have the budgets to adopt innovations, even SMBs are not to be left behind in the race to embrace and leverage data analytics. According to Ashwin, “The benefits, which SMBs can leverage in this space are immense and rather than trying to experiment, they can use a lot of the Open Source solutions that already exist in the market and are being made available by the large organisations. In addition, they can pick and choose their own stacks of solutions, which are interoperable.”
Ashwin says organisations need to critically evaluate how legacy business intelligence systems fit into their scheme of things, and why they believe there are no better alternatives. They must also be honest and examine whether their reluctance to adopt a new system doesn’t simply stem from a fear of change. And in case it is the latter, they need to understand the importance of having an effective digital analytics strategy for their business. The next step for them would be to decide if the legacy system (if not replaceable) can integrate with the new ecosystem to operate effectively.
How to pick the best digital analytics solution suited to your company
According to Ashwin, companies need to consider the following critical questions before deciding on a digital analytics solution for their business. Internally, they need to get a better understanding of:
- What their customer journey looks like, and what information they already have across the journey and what they need to do to fill the gaps
- What their current technology ecosystem is and what interoperability is needed
- What the current skillsets in the organisation are to enable adoption of digital analytics solutions
- If the organisational culture can integrate data from the new solution into strategic and tactical decision-making
Externally, these are the factors they need to consider:
- The ease of deployment of a new digital platform, its use and ongoing maintenance
- The thought leadership and product roadmap for the solution, and how it aligns to future organisational strategies
- The current partner ecosystem for the digital analytics solution
- Proven ROI and good use cases / blueprints in successful deployment, and
- The pitfalls to avoid
Growing to impact the industry
“We play in a diverse and evolving landscape. The analytics space today has players coming from different angles. These include pure play analytics firms like ourselves, software services, and BPO companies that are looking to add an analytics capability to their stack, consulting firms that are doing analytics as part of their consulting assignments and analytics product companies,” says the CEO.
According to Ashwin, in this landscape, Course5 has a three-pronged differentiation from competitors, namely a greater understanding of the omnichannel customer, strong innovation-based IP built on AI technologies and end-to-end digital analytics solutions.
On the future growth path for the company, he says, “We like to think of our growth goals in terms of impact we can have in the industry rather than just revenue. In the next five to seven years, we believe that we can grow our impact in the industry by 50 times. The key here is to leverage our AI-based innovation, which gives us the ability to address problems at scale in a non-linear manner. Secondly, we need to scale up talent as analytical and AI talent is scarce to get. We have to hire “raw” talent and put them through our flagship programme, the Course5 University which focuses on the comprehensive learning and development needs of all our employees.”
He signs off, “There is rapid evolution in AI technology, which is both an opportunity and a challenge. We have to be on top of the game, and stay on the cutting edge of innovation.”