Effective Analytics Put the Humans In Control

By Bill Schmarzo

I was reading an interview with John Krafcik, CEO of Google’s Self-driving Car Project, in the August 8th issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek.  The article referenced a survey by AlixPartners where they found that 73% of people wanted autonomous vehicles.  But when people had the option to have a steering wheel in the car, allowing optional full control to the driver, the acceptance rate jumped to 90%.  This finding, that people are much more accepting of automation and new ideas when they have the option of control, is totally consistent with what we found with respect to how to deliver big data analytics.

The big data engagements we run for EMC focus on applying predictive and prescriptive analytics to deliver recommendations to help key decision makers become more effective at at their jobs.  For example, delivering recommendations to teachers in how to best group their students based upon the subject area, or to mechanics regarding what parts to replace when performing maintenance on a wind turbine, or to physicians regarding what medications and treatments will likely deliver the best results given a patient’s overall wellness, or to appraisers to help them more accurately determine the value of a property, or to an underwriter to help them to determine which loans to accept given a reasonable level of risk, or etc.

But how does one ensure that the business stakeholders, the humans in the process, are accepting of the analytics and recommendations that are being delivered to them? Being right doesn’t necessarily make you persuasive.

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