I want to share highlights from a different kind of day I recently had at SAS that was spent with a customer, YouSee, and thought leader James Taylor, CEO of Decision Management Solutions. We all shared a "Deep Dive Day" at SAS Headquarters here in Cary, North Carolina. Read on to see what fun that entails!
The three individuals from YouSee, a Danish cable TV and broadband services provider, were Ib Konrad Jensen, Director Press and Media, Jan Hjorth-Mosegaard, Head of Business Process Management, Innovation & IT and Martin Jonassen, Advanced Analytics Consultant. They visited the SAS headquarters in Cary, NC to talk about their experience and success with embedding analytics through automated scripts in their call center to improve customer experience. Taylor joined the visit to hear their story for a case study he’s developing for the International Institute of Analytics (IIA). There were many desired outcomes from the day – success stories for SAS, an in-depth case study for IIA and even thought leadership articles for the Business Analytics Knowledge Exchange. Never did I imagine how much more the visit would offer.
Five minutes after everyone met for the first time, the group encountered a challenge. The morning schedule was filled with multiple interviews – between Taylor and YouSee, SAS and YouSee and SAS and Taylor – in the video building on the SAS campus. As you can imagine, many questions were sent via email back and forth in preparation for the interviews and various iterations were made. So when we handed copies of the “final” list of questions to YouSee and Taylor, the question order differed, maybe even specific phrasing varied than what some had expected. The entire group immediately rolled up their sleeves and sat around a table outside of the video studio to sort it out. Talk about an icebreaker.
Mind you there was a slight language barrier. While Konrad Jensen, Hjorth-Mosegaard and Jonassen all spoke wonderful English, it’s not their mother tongue of Danish. So some offline translating took place while we all agreed on the question order and intent. Lesson No. 1 for a day like this: allot time for mental preparation and perhaps a “getting to know you” session before diving in.
The first interview began with Taylor interviewing YouSee on a mock news set. I, Malene Haxholdt, SAS Global Product Marketing Manager for Analytics, and Konrad Jensen watched the “show” from the control room above the studio. When these professionals are positioned in front of a few cameras and start attaching microphones to their jackets, it’s amazing to feel the nerves grow. But once the camera started to roll and they began talking about what they know best – business and analytics – it was as if they were just having a conversation.
After the “news set” interview, multiple activities took place. All three from YouSee and Taylor had time in front a camera with a “green screen” backdrop for some Q&A. When they weren’t doing their “green screens” as we called them, I helped guide them into a room where they were photographed for headshots.
People were going in and out of the photo room and video studios, coming back to the table in the middle to prepare answers, review questions, etc.
During all of this action, quirky exchanges started happening that allowed us to get to know YouSee on another level. For example, during a transition from a “green screen” to a photoshoot, Haxholdt accidentally asked me a question in Danish. She realized it after receiving my blank stare. Konrad Jensen got a kick out of that.
I came to understand a bit more about the YouSee brand after Hjorth-Mosegaard’s photo shoot. Just beforehand, the photographer asked Hjorth-Mosegaard if he wanted a necktie, handing him a box of ties he had on-hand for those who need one. Hjorth-Mosegaard looked at them quickly and then said, “I’m really more comfortable without a tie. It’s part of YouSee’s culture – very relaxed and open.” Good to know!
The real magic
After all the video work in the morning and an exquisite lunch served in an executive room of the new Executive Briefing Center, we gathered in a conference room for YouSee to present their complete story: how they are using and operationalizing analytics for sales and marketing. This is where the real magic happened. It wasn’t your typical presentation where one yammers on about a stiff Power Point and it ends with the obligatory few questions. This was a true dynamic discussion that went on for 2-3 hours.
We discussed YouSee’s business model, how its main priority is the customer – and how that will set it apart from competition. When Jonassen dissected exactly how analytics backed each customer-facing decision, those from SAS (several others from SAS joined us for the afternoon) exuberantly shared ideas and opinions on new ways to harness YouSee’s data for a better customer experience. Every person at the table took copious notes from the spewing of thoughts that were expanded on (think lots of “and then we coulds!…”), likely surprised at the kinetic energy in the room. Before our eyes a monologue presentation turned into an interactive, creative brainstorm session … a happy accident no doubt for all parties.
Let’s do it again
And so the day concludes with fresh ideas galore to take back to our respective jobs. What a unique experience this was for me, and I’m sure others involved as well. A big thanks to YouSee and Taylor. By the way, if you would like to take part in a day like this - a “Deep Dive Day” - let me know. Leave a comment here or send a note describing your business challenges and how you use SAS to address them, and I’ll be in touch.