This week we got in touch with Anand Iyer who is the Director of Operations and Information Technology, Dun and Bradstreet India. With over 20 years of experience in understanding business nuances, he also brings in a rich experience of working across sectors like technology, pre-sales and business consultation.
Analytics India Magazine got in touch with Iyer in a brief interaction where he talked about how analytics is crucial for fueling business decisions, D&B working as an independent credit opinion agency and the challenges in analytics adoption.
Analytics India Magazine: How is analytics crucial for fueling business decisions at D&B?
Anand Iyer: Dun & Bradstreet India has a wealth of analytics solutions to identify growth opportunities, circumnavigate risk, and improve customer relationships. At D&B India, analytics is extensively used and is a crucial input for making decisions across a spectrum of areas. However, two areas stand out clearly — identify prospects across various product segments and understand market demand.
D&B India has been able to define its outreach strategy by leveraging our analytical solutions on customer requirements, demands for solutions and products, industry segmentation and our biggest strength i.e. data. This has helped in exploring newer geographies and target potential customers more precisely.
AIM: Can you highlight this with a use case?
AI: We successfully leveraged our existing customers and understood the relationships they had with their group companies, suppliers and customers. Armed with this information, we were able to target specific customers, taking into account their growth rate, location and expansion. This helped us farm new customers at one-fifth of our marketing costs.
AIM: How are D&B’s data analytics capabilities help companies build their credibility in the market?
AI: With a team of data scientists and analysts, we illuminate the path to growth through unique, global analytics capabilities. We help customers to enhance and scale their use of fact-based strategies to connect with prospects, customers, and suppliers that matter most. Over 90% of the Fortune 500 companies worldwide use our insights to help create a competitive, winning business strategies.
For example, one of our customers in the automobile industry was able to see trends and insights about their creditors as well as customers and make risk-based decisions. We helped them prepare an objective scorecard which clearly indicated the quality of their suppliers in terms of capability to deliver, financial strength, the extent of R&D as well as preparedness to change. Our customer could clearly see the portfolio of their supply chain participants and prepared a well-thought-out programme to improve the profiles of some of their supply chain participants.
AIM: Beyond data analytics, the company also functions as an independent credit opinion agency. How does that work?
AI: D&B, through its Risk Management Solutions, undertakes an independent evaluation of companies and provides an in-depth insight along with detailed SWOT, competitor analysis, etc. These reports are widely used by global companies to evaluate new companies that they would like to deal with and helps them to manage credit risk and grow their business. We have a dedicated army of analysts that analyze and inspect every aspect of a company to give credible opinions. This is not just restricted to listed securities or financial statements, but also includes detailed macro and microeconomic analysis to understand where the company stands vis-vis the industry and its peers. By leveraging D&B’s unrivalled business credit reports and predictive analytics, customers can make confident credit decisions and efficiently manage trade credit. D&B also undertakes Project Appraisal studies to determine the viability of greenfield/brownfield projects requiring funding.
AIM: How are changing regulations affecting business growth?
AI: For a business with data at the core, regulations remain a very critical aspect. There are international regulations and there are the country regulations. As an independent data provider, we always adhered with all the regulatory requirements and laws across the country we operate in. D&B enables our customers to be fully compliant with global and local regulations on data privacy. Since we have a robust framework of adherence to compliance, we adapt regulatory requirements swiftly.
AIM: What are the challenges of analytics adoption that you typically face?
AI: There are two main challenges if we look from a customer perspective and sales-team perspective. Looking at it from the lens of a customer, analytics is an enabler and is intangible by nature. Therefore, it may not show immediate results. Hence, customers could be apprehensive of recognising the value from analytics, especially when those tend to be of ‘high commercial value’ solutions. Customers are looking for comfort by means of past success stories and pilot projects to help them build trust and internal buy-in before undertaking projects of this nature. This is one reason why analytics products/platforms typically do well compared to solutions. There are concerns in terms of data movement from the client’s environment to vendor environment. The GDPR regulations have made customers more perturbed about the interventions they run on their customer data.
Looking at it from the lens of the sales team, analytics has a longer sales cycle. It requires a lot of persistence from the sales team member to not only focus on their current target but also continually engage with customers, addressing their queries and concerns, slowing driving towards a closure. It is a consultative selling as the customer has to not only understand the concept but also participate in the solution building.
AIM: What does analytics and data science unit at D&B works majorly on?
AI: At D&B India, the focus is on developing analytics-based new products, leveraging our strong database which sets our products apart from our competitors & other analytics players in the market. Using our 8 Million plus India database, we can build and train our analytics models without any external dependency. We have 8 ready analytics products, across industries as IT Spend, Travel & Conveyance (T&C) spend propensity, Insurance Spend Propensity, etc. which enable our clients to identify and prioritise their prospects. Apart from our set of proprietary products, we also focus on bespoke analytics projects to analyse B2C client data to help them solve business problems like default prediction, detecting early warning signals etc.
Over the last few years, analytics has progressed from being just a buzz word to an important way of doing business across almost every company and industry. Organisations are well aware that analytics is ‘the’ revenue driver and are investing in building an in-house resource pool. The torchbearer has been the BFSI industry closely followed by Marketing and Advertising and E-commerce sector.