Analytics - Keeping Up to Date
Today I asked a few of the Useful Business Analytics Summit speakers how they keep up to date in their fields.
Q. WHAT SOURCES DO YOU FIND MOST USEFUL IN KEEPING UP TO DATE IN YOUR FIELD/ANALYTICS?
The answers range from the more common and expected such as conferences, blogs and books to the somewhat more novel such as Meetup.com, Coursera and MIT open courseware. LinkedIn groups were also mentioned as an excellent resource, and I’m sure many Next Gen Market Researchers would agree.
One of our speakers, Jonathan from Travelocity, also brought up some more specific resources such as Tnooz and Skift. Though I do a lot of work in travel and hospitality industry, these were new to me. I’d love to hear what sources you find useful in the comments section.
Of course there are aplenty of amazing resources internally within the company for us. A lot of people on our team also takes targeted classes at Stanford and Berkeley. There is also MIT open courseware for math and computer science that is very useful.
It might not be the most orthodox answer, but for me I’ve found switching jobs & industries somewhat frequently has kept me more informed on the latest analytical trends and tools more than anything else.
More conventionally, if you work in a larger city – and you don’t already have a network of friends who do the same work you do, take advantage of the endless opportunities for after-work cocktails and meetup events. Sometimes it’s as simple as a short conversation where you bring up your challenge that day -- perhaps it's how to collect names on a Facebook contest that is going live the next day, and the person who you just clinked glasses with suggests a vendor and saves you hours of research and vetting.
I don’t absorb new ideas deeply unless I can really dig into them and get my hands dirty, so I’ve been taking advantage of the Coursera Big Data courses, which are outstanding. LinkedIn has dozens of interest groups focused on data/analytics, which also have the advantages of connecting you with people who can advance your career and (if you participate constructively) raising your visibility to recruiters. In the travel industry generally, Tnooz and Skift are useful.
Partnerships with vendors, participation in financial services social networks (e.g., in LinkedIn) and forums and summits like the one I am attending in June 10 and 11th - Useful Business Analytics Summit.
Talking with leading practitioners because it's not enough to keep up with the latest approaches ...you have to understand ways to implement those approaches that gives you most of the value for a fraction of the work ...80/20 rule.
Primary and secondary research on market trends, future intentions and competitive intelligence.
Primary research has to be performed in both channels: off-line and on-line
Internal financial performance analytics, customer data base analytics.
It has to be a combination of tools!
Attending conferences gets me thinking out of my norm, which promotes more lateral thinking and helps identify holes in my linear thinking.
Blogs and books coupled with
interesting problems to solve. I also like to follow what a few of the
titans in my fields are working on.
Thanks again to all the speakers for their thoughtful answers. In case you missed it, yesterday’s question was on Big Data. Stop by next week for our speakers list of top tips for analytics professionals!
[Full Disclosure: Tom H. C. Anderson is Managing Partner of Anderson Analytics, developers of a patented Next Generation approach to text analytics known as OdinText. For more information and to inquire about software licensing visit OdinText INFO Request.]