Why I work at Contemporary Analysis

on January 16, 2012

Why Corporate Hierarchy is Important

on December 4, 2012

On Entrepreneurship, Risk and Uncertainty

on January 8, 2013

Today’s flexible work trends favor the clever, well educated and self–motivated. Trends such as BYOD, MOOC’s, results-only workplace, and Holocracies such as Valve and Spotify emphasis the importance of creative, well executed ideas developed by self-motivated employees.

Flexible work trends have emerged because “scalability” allows organizations to realize large gains from ideas, instead of only operational efficiencies. For example, one clever Tweet can reach millions of people, while thousands of mediocre Tweets can fail to ever be read. Today the value is in creativity — efficiency and even automation are just prerequisites.

Today’s flexible work trends are the opposite of the trends of the 80’s and 90’s that emphasized efficiency and cost cutting: six-sigma, just–in–time, out–sourcing, the great moderation, and leverage buyouts. All of these strategies were about extracting more value from what was already being produced. While, today’s trends and technology place a premium on quality and cleverness over efficiency: typically by creating flexible work environments.

However, today’s work trends are not without problems. We have created a flexible work environment at CAN and here are several of the challenges we have experienced.

1. Mobile Burnout: If you are able to work all the time, then that becomes the expectation. Co–workers, managers and especially clients will expect that they can reach you, and that you will provide a timely response, i.e. Microsoft’s #GetItDone Campaign. This can leave little time for family, decompressing, and creative work — especially stressful for introverts.

If you can work from anywhere any time, you need to set aside time to think, build deep relationships and just get away. Set your voice mail, auto–responders and your calendar to let people know that you are unavailable because you are working on a project, family time, or just getting away from it all. To be your most creative and valuable you need to invest in decompressing. Also, organizations need to appreciate people that are honest about how they spend their time, and defend people from work–shaming.

2. Security: It is clear that the future of work is not command and control.  Traditional Enterprise IT assumes that users don’t understand technology, what tools they need, and will break the system if allowed. This might have had a time and a place, but not today. Today’s companies are filled with engineers, designers and programmers instead of non-technical workers. So why do we treat knowledge workers the same way we used to treat factory workers at the turn of the 20th century?

Instead companies need to create a work environment around tasks and tools instead of command and control — learn more about the Future of Enterprise IT. CIO’s need to focus on providing a solid base work environment, provide training, and allow employees to work as they see fit. Employees need to know their tasks: the what by when. They also need to understand the tools they need accomplish those tasks.

Companies need to create an environment were users are encouraged to understand and explore technology and how it can be used. In a flexible work environment training instead of command and control is the key to security and productivity. However, you have to hire employees that are motivated to learn and continually improve. It will be hard to succeed if your employees aren’t willing to learn about and use new technologies.

3. Hiring, Training and Integration: BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and other popular tech trends are typically practiced by technology firms, or at least companies that expect workers to be fairly technologically savvy. If your typical employees needs to call customer support if they forget or need to reset their password, they probably won’t be able to setup a VPN on their laptop. BYOD typically requires firms to hirer more technical people and provide more training and documentation.

4. Spouse and Family Pressures: Flexible work arrangements can create quite a bit of spouse and family stress, especially if your spouse works at a more traditional company. Issues range from: spouses automatically assuming that their significant other is available for a doctors appointment or too watch the children, to getting upset that their spouse is lazy because they are sleeping until 10am and in the same day mad that worked until 10pm — workaholic!

It is important to talk with your employees about how to talk with their spouse and families about what having a flexible work schedule means. At CAN we make sure that employees, their spouse and their families understand CAN’s work environment before their first day of work.

5. This is not anarchy: Creating a flexible work environment is not about embracing anarchy. In fact, it creates a more competitive environment. Trust and self–motivation become the key. Since you are judged not by who sees you sitting at your desk when, the only measure becomes the quality of your work. This is a terrifying environment for many people, and benefits only a few people that are self–motivated, clever and highly productive. However, in the long-run who do you want working at your company?

In conclusion, we find that the hot trends today don’t apply to most businesses. Unless you make money from creativity and innovation, having a flexible work environment is probably not for your company. However, if you do make money from creativity having a well rested, engaged and equipped organization can produce large returns. It all comes down to how clever do you need your employees to be.


An Analytical Dashboard: Nebraska’s Workforce

on December 16, 2013

Data Driven Decision Making & Camping

on November 10, 2013

The theory of insurance states that the healthier a population of people, the less they should pay in insurance premiums. Right? We built this dashboard to investigate: do healthier states pay less in insurance premiums? What we found is that average weighted monthly premiums depends less on how healthy a state is, and probably more on average cost of living, geography and political affiliation. What do you think?  Read more…


Generating Sales Leads

on March 30

Thinking about buying sales leads? Here are 10 questions that you should ask first.

1. What is the minimum purchase?

List brokers try to capture as much of your marketing budget as possible. They do this by setting minimum purchase amounts and charging for filtering: both encourage larger purchases. So while you might find a broker with low minimum purchases, there is a good chance they charge high fees to filter their lists.

The key is to find balance. Often, buying an extra thousand sales leads won’t cost as much as the first thousand. However, you might not want to use them all. You want to avoid using sales leads that don’t fit your target audience, because interrupting the wrong people is a good way to erode the credibility of your brand (and is a waste of your time and resources). Buying names and contact information is the cheapest part of marketing and selling. You should only use the leads that are the best fit for what you sell; even if that means not using every name.  Read more…


10 Questions to Ask Before Buying Sales Leads

on April 7

Predictive Analytics improves M&A Activity

on January 22, 2013

Every sales organization requires three things: sales managers, salespeople, and sales leads. In principal, the formula is simple: the sales team will meet their quota if the sales manager focuses the salespeople on the right sales leads.

Most sales organizations know how to find salespeople and sales managers, leaving sales leads. There are 4 sources of sales leads: 1.) referrals, 2.) conferences and trade shows, 3.) inbound marketing and 4.) proactive sales. Each sources has its pros and cons: the key is selecting the right sources for what you sell.

For example, there are businesses where referrals are often the best or the only way to grow. These “word-of-mouth” businesses tend to offer services that are intimate, offer solutions to frequent problems, and have limited marketing resources.

However, most businesses need more than one sources of leads to maximize revenue. Not having the right combination of sources stagnates growth and increases your cost of client acquisitionDifferent lead sources vary in the amount of upfront investment, sophistication required, and payback period.

Read more…

Contemporary Analysis's Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge Entry

Every so often we get the opportunity to apply our knowledge to something a little different. It’s a great opportunity to break out and have a little fun with our data modeling. (For instance, our Halloween candy prediction last October.)

The Billion Dollar Bracket

In this case, we used our skills to complete a bracket for the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge, funded by Omaha’s own, Warren Buffet. Using past game data, and information about each team, we created unique models to predict the probability of each team’s chance of winning a particular match.

For our models, we took into consideration the significant variables that determine the typical likelihood of success for each team, things like assists, free throw averages, turnovers, and rebounds. We then applied these values to the respective teams for each matchup — letting us pit each team against each other more accurately.

Read more…


How Often to Update Predictive Models

on August 13, 2013

Dear Community Banks: This is Why Your Customers are Leaving

on December 10, 2012

I spent last week at a conference focused on customer research. There were +1,000 researchers in attendance, mostly from Fortune 1000 companies. They were brilliant — discovering insights that could lead to better products, more satisfied customers, and higher profits.

The problem is that their customer research isn’t able to produce results. Disappointed, I started to think about how researchers could make more of an impact on the organization.

My first thought was that researchers are not senior executives. Perhaps researchers should give senior executives the responsibility, training, and tools to conduct their own customer research? It’s an interesting idea — a lot of vendors are promoting self-service business intelligence — but how feasible is it? If you give executives the power to do research without proper and extensive training, you are going to have an organization led by misinformation. Read more…


Insurance Premiums Relative to Health by State

on May 15

Data Driven Decision Making & Camping

on November 10, 2013

Creativity and innovation are the key for companies and countries to remain competitive. Technology has flattened access to resources and geography. Access to capital, equipment, and raw materials are no longer a competitive advantage. Geography offers few protections. The only true competitive advantage is in people—their connections and creativity.

The future of Nebraska’s economy is dependent on the future of Nebraska’s workforce. Given the importance, Contemporary Analysis decided to create an analytical dashboard of Nebraska’s workforce. Learn more: download our Dashboard eBook. The dashboard allows you to explore Nebraska’s Workforce from 1999 to 2012 by race, education and job types. It shows the distribution and trends for education and job types, and the correlation between job type and education.


Read more…


The Future is Now

on August 19, 2013

Why you should update predictive models

on August 14, 2013

A recent survey by SAS, the provider of business analytics and business intelligence software, shows the number one reason organizations are not planning on implementing Big Data is their lack of understanding of how Big Data applies to their business. The solution is predictive analytics. Predictive analytics is the application of Big Data.

It is easy to marvel at the amount of data that is currently being collected and organized. The total data supply in 2012 was 2.8 zettabytes (ZB) or 2.8 trillion gigabytes (GB). However, the volume of data available isn’t nearly as important as applying data to improve and automate existing business processes. Here are CAN’s Do’s and Don’ts for successfully applying Big Data using Predictive Analytics:

Read more…

Looking for something?