With the backdrop of bustling Chicago, in one of the city’s historic hotels, the Drake, CGT and RIS hosted its annual Analytics Unite conference. Across three jam-packed days, influential leaders from across the consumer goods and retail industries convened to discuss the landscape of analytics and the powerful role it is playing in innovation, talent, and business growth.
Here’s what several attendees had to say:
Q: What is it about Analytics Unite that made it valuable for you to come here?
Steve Zurek, director of sales development at NielsenIQ, recognizes the accelerated speed at which our industry is changing and consumer behavior is shifting. In response, Zurek said it’s important to be on the edge of data analytics and where it is going.
Seemantiti Godbole, executive vice president and chief information officer at Lowe’s, agreed. “The significance of data and analytics is only increasing. This is a place where there’s a meeting of minds, and people in the space of data and analytics are all here exchanging ideas,” she said.
Q: What is one thing that you’ve learned so far?
Cecilia Dones, who focuses on data science at Moët Hennessy, recognizes that regardless of what CPG products her company has, and regardless of being in luxury, foods, beauty, etc., all of the challenges are similar when it comes to responding to the macroeconomic environment.
“It really highlights how critical it is to build data and analytical capabilities for each of our organizations,” said Dones.
Saurabh Srivastava, a VP at Fractal, said it’s interesting to see the different ways companies are embedding analytics into the different parts of their organization. “A problem that you are solving in one particular function…how does it impact the whole ecosystem?”
Greg Schmidt, senior director of business analytics at Swisher International, Inc., said he’s enjoyed staying on top of what’s contemporary in the industry and learning about the next leading edge things companies need to focus on to stay up to speed.
Q: What analytics technology do you see as most important right now?
Dones said that building up capabilities around more predictive analytics will help us to better navigate the future.
Srivastava stated he’s noticed a shift, with the evolution of analytics moving toward democratization. “How do you embed analytics in the decision making process so it becomes something that is really natural and not outside of the whole process?”
Q: Where do you see the future of data and analytics?
Charles Chase, an advisor with Saas Retail/CPG Global Practice, said that as we go through the digital economy and become more mature with digital transformations, it’s inevitable that companies are going to have to invest in analytics.