How Comcast’s Xfinity Home is using Analytics and more to Drive Business Decisions

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By: Comcast’s Shuvankar Roy, vice president, Xfinity Home and Neeraj Grover, director of business analytics and reporting, Xfinity Home

Q: Why are analytics right to use to drive business decisions?

A: Analytics can help to identify the actual pain points in many parts of the business, including the customer journey. By using analytics, it’s easy to prioritize initiatives and avoid making decisions based on hypothesis, with no evidence to back up your work. Data offers significant insights into your business and can help you to course correct, as needed. Additionally, data can help you to define goals, make forecasts based on trends, patterns or the season.

To give an example, we here at Comcast are hyper-focused on customer satisfaction. For us, it is imperative to gain insights into our customers’ interactions with our front-line employees, such as technicians and customer service representatives, to help serve them better. Measuring the net promoter score or NPS at all levels including transactional, products, and employees help us to identify pain points that customers may experience from our service and products. Without these insights, we would not be able to improve or change processes and better serve our customers at every level.

Q: What type of analytics are essential?

A: To a large extent it depends on the maturity of the organization. To start with, you need Business Intelligence tools to identify and measure leading and lagging indicators. With this level of analysis, you will be able to understand what is driving an uptick and what may be causing a downward spiral.With Business Intelligence, your organization will be able to start predicting what is happening and provide corrections as needed.

As the organization matures and starts collecting more and better quality data, consider digging deeper beneath the numbers by using machine learning algorithms. These can provide further insights into top factors impacting your KPIs and help come up with a few “if-then” solutions that may help improve your metrics. We recommend testing each solution separately to see if the outcome actually enhances the indicators you want to influence.  The tests help foray from predictive into prescriptive analytics.

A particular type of Analytics can also be used for specific applications. For instance, Artificial Intelligence when paired with chatbots can offer your customers immediate access to assistance, and the text analytics can also help provide insights into areas that may need improvement.

Adoption of technology that leverages analytics to solve issues could become the critical differentiating factor to improve service delivery.

Q: With so much data/analytics that exist within a company, what are some best practices to narrow down the data that matter the most?

A: We see three factors of success for any projects: rely on extensive domain knowledge, be very skeptical of visible past trends and don’t  overanalyze,

Providing enough domain knowledge at each step of the way is key to identifying the most relevant data for any analytics study. The structure that works the best for us is having the analytics and business intelligence teams work carefully (or at times embedded) within the business units. This ensures that there is participation from subject matter experts to provide real-time feedback as insights are provided. The input and validation from SMEs ensure that the right data elements are being considered.

The other factor is to be very skeptical of apparent past trends as market conditions evolve. Lastly, avoid over analysis. In some cases getting 80 percent, accurate data is sufficient to understand directional and correct patterns which can help you make timely decisions. Avoid the pitfall of ensuring 100 percent accuracy as you may miss the opportunity to course correct in time.

Q: What type of business decisions can be made based on analytics?

A: Many decisions can be made based on analytics, but it’s important to look at the whole picture such as market conditions and what’s going on in the world. As you begin to make decisions based on analytics keep in mind these key points:

Analytics may be wrong sometimes as correlation is different from causation so take immediate corrective actions when you realize the change that was implemented is not working. Don’t be afraid to pivot and move on to another solution.

Prioritize analytics initiatives based on business goals. You can get a lot of data, and there may be many areas that need to be fixed, but you can’t do it all so narrow in on the few that will make the most significant impact to your business and go from there.

At times, be sure to complement data with other approaches. Sometimes it’s essential to conduct a few focus groups or review processes to find the triggers leading to the lagging data.

Q: Can you share an example where you made some critical business decisions based on the analytics?

A: Losing customers or churn is a measure that is key to most businesses. A while back our team leveraged decision trees and other machine learning algorithms to predict the type of customers that may have a high propensity to churn, and we identified key factors that led to it. The outcome of the machine learning algorithms identified customer engagement – the lack of activity and usage with the service – as the most impactful predictor of customer churn.

The importance of this factor led our teams to dig deeper into customers’ engagement with their services, their tenure, the services they have subscribed, and their preferred channels of engagement with us. This led to further insights into how our customers engage with each product and what service delivery steps could help drive customers to have a better experience. Ultimately, we found that customers who participate with or used the product(s) regularly led to more satisfaction with their service, which lowered churn.

Xfinity Home touch-screen

As the IoT space expands with more and more devices in a secured and connected home, the value for AI to help further improve customer service will be imperative.  Machine learning supported chatbots will become more sophisticated as they can scan for any system issues or other similar customer issues and quickly help to resolve and respond to customers. This level of customer care and service can be provided at an increased scale and response time will be quicker without adding to the cost of operations –the cost to provide the best customer service may even decrease.

The post How Comcast’s Xfinity Home is using Analytics and more to Drive Business Decisions appeared first on ReadWrite.

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President Obama ‘made the best decisions he could’ about Russia, former advisor Valerie Jarrett says

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On Recode Decode, Jarrett says tech companies should work with the government to safeguard democracy.

As a senior White House advisor for all eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, Valerie Jarrett says Obama used to ask his staff, “When are you going to bring me the easy decisions?”

“And we’d go, ‘Oh no, we took care of those,’” Jarrett said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. “‘You get the tough ones.’”

One of those tough decisions that has fallen under retroactive scrutiny was how Obama reacted to early emerging evidence that Russian-backed actors were attempting to sway the 2016 U.S. elections. Was there more he should have done?

“You make judgment calls every single day,” Jarrett said. “With the benefit of hindsight, we would all maybe do things differently, but I feel confident that based on what he knew, when he knew it, he made the best decisions he could.”

She expressed sympathy for the tech companies that she said weren’t aware that their platforms were “being used as a force for evil.” But she said there’s a more important role they can play in future elections, rather than merely looking back on what could have happened differently in 2016.

“It should be a united front of the private sector and government saying, ‘What could be more key to our democracy than preserving the integrity of our voting?’” Jarrett said. “We should all be really dedicated to that.”

You can listen to Recode Decode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

On the new podcast, recorded in front of a live audience at South by Southwest 2018, Jarrett reflected on how quickly technology has changed — in politics and everywhere else — in just a decade.

The technology revolution is like no other revolution we’ve seen before in our country,” she said. “I remember, President Obama was in office when he asked me what I knew about Twitter, and I said, ‘You mean, like, all a-twitter?’ That was in 2008, and I had no idea what he was talking about.”

Today, Jarrett is something of a techie herself, serving on the boards of Lyft and 2U, and advising the Los Angeles-based media company ATTN. She said she disagreed with the idea that, since 2016, her fellow Democrats have become more “anti-tech.”

“I think tech is an incredible tool for good,” she said. “I’m not anti-tech at all. I want to figure out how to make tech stay as good of a tool as it can, and do no harm — or, do as little harm as possible.”

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • On Too Embarrassed to Ask, also hosted by Kara Swisher, we answer the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • And Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, including the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara.

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Skagen Falster review: A very sleek Wear OS watch let down by terrible hardware decisions

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Over the last year, we’ve seen a tangible shift in Android Wear’s — now Wear OS — direction. Previously geared toward the demanding techie crowd that was tough to win over, Google’s smartwatch platform found a sort of reprieve in more niche markets. We’ve seen Wear watches made for extreme sports, outdoors, running, and a slew of fashion-forward models from recognized brands like Michael Kors, Diesel, GUESS, Fossil, Kate Spade, Emporio Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, and more.

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Skagen Falster review: A very sleek Wear OS watch let down by terrible hardware decisions was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Mark Zuckerberg says he’s ‘fundamentally uncomfortable’ making content decisions for Facebook

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“I feel fundamentally uncomfortable sitting here in California in an office making content policy decisions for people around the world.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t want to be the content police. But he might not have a choice.

For years, Facebook has argued that it’s a platform for all ideas. Outside of obvious ethical violations — child pornography or terrorist propaganda, for example — it doesn’t want to take responsibility for determining what’s appropriate or inappropriate, or even what’s fact or fiction.

But as CEO of the world’s largest social network — a service he created — many believe that responsibility does fall to Zuckerberg. Who else should be making Facebook’s rules?

In an interview with Recode on Wednesday to discuss the company’s recent privacy scandal, Zuckerberg showed some frustration with the idea that as Facebook’s CEO, many expect him to create and enforce values for the service that are applicable to all of Facebook’s two billion users.

Zuckerberg tried to explain why it’s a tough challenge by pointing out that it can be hard to walk the line between freedom of speech and hate speech. He mentioned that people don’t always agree on when or if something crosses that line.

“What I would really like to do is find a way to get our policies set in a way that reflects the values of the community, so I am not the one making those decisions,” Zuckerberg said. “I feel fundamentally uncomfortable sitting here in California in an office making content policy decisions for people around the world.”

But then Zuckerberg said something else we haven’t heard before, which is that even though making these kinds of policy decisions make him uncomfortable, he may no longer have a choice.

“Things like, ‘Where’s the line on hate speech?’ I mean, who chose me to be the person that did that?” Zuckerberg continued. “I guess I have to, because we’re here now, but I’d rather not.”

I guess I have to, because we’re here now.

In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, while Facebook still grapples with issues of fake news, filter bubbles and the negative health effects of social media, it seems clear that Zuckerberg is realizing that his “we want to please everyone” approach may not be working as planned.

Zuckerberg clearly isn’t jumping at the idea of telling the world where the line is on hate speech. But his statement also demonstrates that he’s recognized what many have been waiting for the CEO to see for some time: That Facebook needs more consistent and enforceable values, and it should be up to Zuckerberg and the other smart people at Facebook to create them.

This doesn’t mean Zuckerberg is going to sit down tomorrow and write new policy rules for Facebook. But it’s a sign that he’s frustrated that his efforts to please everybody — and avoid any accusations of bias — might not be working the way that he hoped.

Recode – All

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Zuckerberg is ‘uncomfortable’ making content decisions for all users

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared on multiple media outlets today to address the Cambridge Analytica scandal and to answer pressing questions about the increasingly large role Facebook plays in today's world. In a particularly enlightening moment…
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Uber Movement launches in UK to help city planners make better decisions

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Millions of Londoners use Uber on a daily basis to get from point A to point B. As each of these trips are tracked and logged by the app, Uber has managed to build an impressive treasure-trove of data, allowing them to optimize pick-up and drop-off points. Now, it’s opening that data to city planners in the UK. Uber Movement is a free tool that lets urban planners access and analyze millions of anonymized trips, in order to make better decisions. The tool debuted in early 2017 in the United States, and now it’s getting its long-awaited UK launch. Uber…

This story continues at The Next Web
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UK police are using AI to inform custodial decisions – but it could be discriminating against the poor

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Apple’s recent software problems are bad, but shouldn’t lead to knee-jerk personnel decisions

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By any account, Apple had a rough end of November and start of December from a software perspective — but there are lessons to be learned and corrective measures to execute that can only be fully undertaken with the Apple leadership staying in place.
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‘Magic: The Gathering Arena’ Stream Talks Aesthetics Decisions

Wizards of the coast continues to reveal the upcoming Magic: The Gathering Arena piece by piece, and today we got another developer stream that focused primarily on Aesthetics but also included a Q&A part. The developers discussed how they came to the decisions they did on things like card look, tapping animations, and so on, all of which were accompanied by videos showing the evolution of the design. For instance, they talked about the importance of keeping the cards facing the player throughout a match, which influenced how the cards will look like when they are tapped. Finding a way to show tapped cards well was much trickier than it sounds, and I have a hunch the developers’ thought process was also influenced by how the game might look like on tablets and phones in the future.

If you’ve been wondering how the game will look and wondering what the reasoning is behind each of those design choices, you should definitely watch the above video. The Q&A is also very informative, with the developer explaining design decisions, changes that might be coming to the future, and much more. The PC beta is getting closer, and I’m very curious to see what the end-result will be. It does look that there’s a lot of attention paid to this digital client, so I’m optimistic about the future of Magic on our phones and tablets.

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