The Intersections between Data Analytics, Consumer Psychology, Strategy and Operational Implementation are important in meeting today’s more complex consumer needs. These are some of the keywords businesses should keep in mind when planning a digital transformation strategy and being data-driven in decision making. David Edoja is a focused and versatile Data Analyst with over 14 years’ experience in the aforementioned fields. He is the founder and CEO of [AI] Analytics Intelligence, an artificial intelligence software development company focused on building AI solutions for the African market.
The Road Down To [AI]
Just like other Nigerians, I’m very entrepreneurial so this wasn’t my first rodeo. My first major company was a management consulting agency for SMEs in the UK. We were helping businesses adapt to digital transformation and move their businesses online. As a business we were very successful, with funding for the projects by European governments, but things changed when the funding was cut.
What we were doing then at the agency really gave me insight into the value of data analytics. Companies were already tinkering with AI applications in consumer behaviour at the time. Targeted marketing and personalization were becoming a thing. So I started taking courses in Data Analytics and educating myself right up till I got a job with a top Data Analytics company. I grew through the ranks of various organizations and took a course in artificial intelligence in MIT. The vision for [AI] started back in 2009, and I’ve been laser focused since on building a company that uses artificial intelligence to solve challenges businesses face. We built our first minimum viable product in 2011 and as the business has grown, we’ve had different iterations since then. Now we have a range of products in the market addressing different challenges.
Data Is At The Core Of Digital Transformation
Evidence-based decision making is the key for businesses and corporations in 2021. Entrepreneurs are sometimes driven by emotions and passions. Some think it’s just about having a great product.
In reality, you need to take a step back and analyze data available to you in order to make informed decisions. Analysis of data helps point out obvious problems in business strategy, it gives you evidence for you to adjust your strategy and also shows what needs to be implemented.
My top advice to clients we work with is to be KPI-driven! Always use indicators to measure growth. On our platform, we have productivity tools to measure operational efficiency, this is how much we emphasize the need to use data in tracking and evaluating all processes and decisions in a company.
What Smaller Businesses Need To Learn
Small companies need to learn from the bigger companies in how they apply data analytics and insight. They may not have the same budget or access to infrastructure or analytics talent, but they can take baby steps towards getting practicable results.
I believe there’s a culture problem among businesses in Africa towards adopting the use of data analytics. Also, organizations need resources and personnel to achieve a data-driven culture within their organisation. Some Data Analysts have little practical experience in turning the analysis to action, and if you don’t analyse data and take actions from the insight learnt from the analysis, then it’s pointless even collecting the data.
One of our products called myData, developed to act as a digital member of your team can act as a virtual analyst as it can communicate using natural language via email, text, voice, slack and whatsapp. It monitors various critical metrics, helps users set up goals and targets and answer business questions. But beyond that, it provides timely context around what is happening with the data. You can literally have a conversation with the system and get your results in plain English. Our system is also built to be proactive because it already knows your goals and helps users achieve these goals. These are some of the solutions we’re using to digitally transform businesses and small businesses can start accessing this even with free tools.
Africa’s Data Problem
Africa has an obvious data problem. There is a huge lack of needed data on so many resources and facets of the economy. Many organizations are still doing a whole lot of paperwork as opposed to cloud storage and remote monitoring. Most of the data that is present is also still very much unstructured.
All this creates a blindspot for foreign investors and international bodies. But the first solution I’ll proffer is to start gathering your own data for your organization and keep it structured. Create a data-driven culture in the workplace. This will affect how you implement strategies.
Artificial Intelligence Saves You Money on Advertising
Lots of big corporations in Nigeria still spend huge marketing budgets on mainly brand awareness. Some just want a celebrity to be the face of their brand and they hope that converts into sales. Whereas targeted data-driven advertising can track down customers to specific personas and nuances and guarantee visibility and conversion. These targeted ads also come at budget-friendly costs for small businesses.
You can also implement automated advertising and you can always track how many people see the ads and other conversion metrics you need to make decisions for your business. No other channel in advertising gives you that sort of advantage.
There is still a knowledge gap in Africa on the benefits of some of this. That’s why we always add education to our offerings in the African market in order to counter the culture problem.
Analytics & Growth
Here at [AI], we have three sets of products – The [AI] platform, myData and Powered By [AI]. We see our product line as a utility AI as a service that organisations can build solutions on. This means that if you need facial recognition, object detection, credit scoring or natural language processing in the software for your business, you can just use our already built APIs. With some of these unique integrations organisations can adopt the use of machine learning to improve the delivery of their services. Retailers, for example, can include a personalisation and recommendation system in their apps, or financial services providers can utilize credit scoring in their loans approval process, all through connections to APIs
We believe that the adoption of intelligent agents like myDATA, would give in house analysts and business users in your company the required interpretation of your data and insight for them to apply to specific actions on performance, sales or targeted marketing.
Stepping Into The Future
We know the problems in the market currently and we know they will not go away in a year or two. We are working with key partners both in the private sector and Government to address these challenges and make the African market ready for the changes happening globally through digital transformation and artificial intelligence.
One of the key factors in delivering great products at this level is having a great team, not just the management team but in the technical and software teams as well and we are grateful to have such great talents in the company and will continue to expand our teams.
For us, the Nigerian market is a springboard into the wider African market. We are already engaged with clients in various African countries and will remain focused on building a pan African brand and tailoring our solutions towards optimizing operational efficiency across African organizations through Artificial Intelligence.
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