Software has been a primary tool for business professionals to help manage processes since its creation many decades ago. I remember the first program I wrote was a payroll program to calculate taxes, deductions and the net amount to be paid. Since then, I have helped hundreds of business managers and thousands of employees implement more efficient business processes. All these solutions store data so we can learn from the past.
Some of us in the industry are no longer satisfied with looking back at history. Predictive analytics, a form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) forecasts what is likely to happen. If done properly AI uses multiple formulas and involves related data influences to allow us to predict multiple possible outcomes. I liken these predictions to weather experts forecasting the landfall of a hurricane.
Mathematicians abound. Check the class sizes of most colleges and universities and you will find no shortage of talented number jockeys. Those I associate with have the benefits of two career paths, math and business management. These combined skills allow Business Analysts to use powerful AI tools to create most likely forecasts and insights; to share them with the right business people at the right time through existing systems to improve the results or minimize the risks.
The most effective predictions cause actions to happen at the right time and place to maximize the results. Telling a salesperson what their customer is likely buying from our competitor is helpful. Telling the salesperson, the most effective discount to offer the customer without giving away more profit than is necessary arms them with a competitive weapon. Tracking the results of using these multiple AI models will allow us to fine-tune the process so we will be able to repeat it again and again with confidence. This information arms the right person with the right information to succeed. It provides their superiors with tools to measure when the person used the information and if it hit the target. It is self-healing since the formula is reapplied using AI to make it more accurate for the next time it is used.
The combination of AI and business acumen can be applied to all roles within your business, except maybe the janitorial staff. Wait, I can even help them now that I think about it.
The net of this scribble above is to remind you that hiring a mathematician only provides half the solution. Where and when to use these magical numbers requires experience and understanding of the business process in addition to the very complex influences that impact it.