Wizard of Oz and the new Analytics Fairytale

The tale of Dorothy and her friends as they journeyed to the Land of Oz; each to find answers to the problems they were facing is one many of us would have loved reading as children.

And a few of us would have also read the background story about how this story was actually a satirical monetary allegory with Dorothy representing the everywoman fighting the post-depression issues of the 1890’s.

Fast forward 200 years. Visualize Dorothy in the new world of Research and Analytics. Meet the new cast of characters and imagine their story:

Dorothy represents the growing world of Analytics that is re-shaping traditional research by accessing multiple sources of data and shifting the focus from descriptive data towards predictive analytics. She knows not just how to understand customer behaviour but how to use analytical algorithms to design personalized experiences and drive meaningful insights for the right customer micro-segments.

Her friends, the lion, the tinman and the scarecrow represent the research everywomen who are trying find their hearts, brain and courage in the world of shifting CXO crowns and priorities as traditional research increasingly gets sidelined.

The story starts as Dorothy’s old home, blown away in the cyclone of business change, lands on the Wicked Witch of the East, the world of disparate offline survey and bulky research reports that Dorothy’s analytics superpowers accidentally overpowers. The land of munchkins where she lands is the world of endless stock reports and survey codes.

As a reward for her good deed, the Good Witch of the North grants Dorothy a magic toolkit powered by social and digital media that changes her traditional research toolkit.


Traditional Toolkit

Social Media toolkit

Industry dynamics

Porter’s five forces model

Value chain analysis

Network intelligence: analyze real time reactions across industry players

Examples: Alterian, TweetReach

Competitive Landscape

War game and game theory analysis


Psychological profiling

Real-time competitive intelligence to track revenue growth, product success, brand mentions

Examples: BoardReader, Radian6, Socialbaker

Future Trends

Trend interaction analysis

Scenario planning

Crowd intelligence: tapping into fans/followers for new insights/innovations

Weak-signal analysis: identifying emerging trends early

Examples: Facebook, LinkedIn, Glassdoor

Opportunity/market sizing

Market sizing by triangulation

Estimation of achievable customer base in a previously undefined market

Penetration of addressable market

Live testing: getting direct feedback from users on new products/ideas

Data-mining: using text analytics to estimate market size

Examples: Attensity, Autonomy

Customer Insights

Focus groups and customer surveys

Observing customer behaviour in the field (shadowing)

Customer segmentation

Sentiment analysis: estimating buzz around product/service

Inflluencer intelligence: identifying key influencers and targeting for marketing/insights

Examples: NM Incite, Social Mention, SocMetrics, Traackr, Tweepi

Source: Mckinsey

She also gives Dorothy the silver slippers of visualization and gamification that give her new speed and power. Visualization changes the way she can create drill-down, online, automated reports to re-design her old reports for the business-users. And gamification gives her new ways to engage with her end-clients and design surveys that seek to engage rather than just collect information.

But Dorothy and her friends are still not out of danger. The yellow brick lane represents the pathway to analytics led business transformation and the magical land of the Emerald City signifies the land where the data meets insights and impact; where the Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Strategy Officers and Chief Data Officers use analytics to drive organizational wide transformation.

And there resides the Wicked Witch of the West who represents the world of shrinking marketing budgets and profits and commands the winged monkeys of ROI to keep catching those who cannot show her the money. She asks tough questions such as “How can I measure my Customer Experience across multiple channels?”, “Can you marry all sources of data and give me one view of my customer?”, “Can you tell me what products I can sell to a customer to increase retention and stop attrition?” Her questions are relentless. Dorothy needs to draw on all her strengths, use her new toolkit to silence the increasing doubts. Maybe the Wizard can help her, she thinks.

But the Wizard of Big Data is just a confused soul trying to pretend that he knows it all. The myth about his powers far exceeds his real powers.

Dorothy and her friends are brave and persistent. With her magic powers and her silver slippers, she proves that Research powered by Analytics is the way to drive real impact for the CXOs' business problems. And she doesn’t really need the wizard to solve her problems. Fast forward 200 years later? Well, that could be a new story.

But for now, all ends well. Just as in the old story, she says goodbye to her friends and returns home, stronger, braver and more powerful after her eventful journey and experience. A fairytale? Or the reality today?

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