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Data-driven innovation needed in businesses -- and dog shelters

Using data analytics to improve sales and marketing operations and other business processes has become a no-brainer in many companies. But can it also help improve the lives of some of man's best friends, who are in dire need of new human companions?

Jill Dyché, vice president of best practices at software vendor SAS Institute Inc., says it can. Dyché, who heads a consulting team that works with SAS users to optimize their analytics processes, is also a dog rescue advocate at animal shelters in southern California, where she lives. She sees parallels between the potential value of analytics applications in businesses and the shelter system; in particular, how data-driven innovation can both increase sales and improve the chances that homeless dogs will be adopted.

In this video Q&A recorded in July 2016 at the Pacific Northwest BI Summit in Grants Pass, Ore., Dyché says that providing more data on available dogs can help them get adopted more quickly -- and boost the likelihood that they won't be returned to a shelter. People looking for a new pet can make more informed adoption decisions, she explains, if they have detailed profiles of individual dogs, with information about their age, history and behavior.

The same holds true for businesses: Having more information about customers allows companies to personalize their customer relationship management and marketing outreach efforts, according to Dyché.

"The more I know about the customer, the more I can make targeted, relevant decisions, often at the time of the interaction," she says. A targeted marketing strategy helps ensure that customers find what they're looking for, when they're looking for it -- but, in her view, that's impossible without a strong focus on data and analytics.

Other aspects of what Dyché has learned about data-driven innovation from her work in dog shelters can be applied to corporate analytics programs, as well. For example, she says delivering updates on operational metrics and key performance indicators via BI dashboards boosts information sharing inside organizations, and can show business executives and shelter managers alike what success should look like in their different domains.

Of course, there's more at stake in shelters than business performance. Dyché hopes that increased digitization and a data-driven analytics process will help make the U.S. a no-kill nation for shelter dogs.

Watch the video to hear more from Dyché about the analytical parallels between dog shelters and traditional businesses, as well as how data-driven innovation makes it easier for both to better organize themselves for success. 

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