How Sagacity helps organisations solve business challenges

Anita Dougall, CEO and co-founder of data expert Sagacity, spoke to Technology Magazine about how companies can get the most out of AI and machine learning

Can you tell me about Sagacity? 

Sagacity is a dynamic data solutions company dedicated to helping organisations solve complex business challenges. We have worked with some of the best-known brands in business, spanning major industries such as telecoms, water and energy. 

First and foremost, we join the dots between data, people, processes, policies and systems. Our clients often have data challenges due to the variety, complexity or volume of data they have. Our job is to help them harness this data – cleansing and correcting it to address challenges such as identifying the right customer, missed billing and incorrect billing.

Our expertise in analytics and machine learning also enables our clients to identify their most valuable customers and optimise their profitability. Our Value Based Management tool enables us to provide detailed measurement of individual customer value and forecast demand for upcoming services, so our clients can always ensure they are making future-ready decisions. 

What is your role and responsibilities at the company? 

As the co-founder and CEO of the company, I am responsible for building our strategic direction and vision here at Sagacity. This entails ensuring we have profitable growth and that we are developing relationships with our clients – many of whom are major household names.

I’m also involved in driving our company culture. My personal leadership philosophy is based on establishing mutual trust within my team to reach company targets. Hiring the right team who are passionate about what they do allows them to make excellent decisions which meet their own needs and support the overall success of the company.

I believe there is no such thing as a successful individual. Everyone’s success is the result of teamwork, collaboration, and assistance from others.  

How can companies create a good AI strategy? 

Before a business can successfully implement AI, it must be clear about what challenges they’re looking to solve with it. It’s a common misconception that AI is a ‘plug and play’ technology that will deliver immediate returns, but sadly it’s not as easy as this. A successful strategy starts with identifying which type of AI is most suitable to the data you have available, so that you avoid investing in the wrong technology and missing the promised benefits.

The next step is to make sure your data is machine-readable and consistent, so it can properly train an algorithm to spot usable insights and patterns. Skipping this step runs the risk of improperly training data models, which can lead to inaccurate or confusing conclusions. Plugging the gaps is an extremely important part of this. While as much useable data as possible should be sourced internally, organisations may also need to use external data – either purchased from a data marketplace or acquired via publicly available sources.

Finally, a successful AI strategy also requires agility. Business leaders should empower their teams to experiment with the technology, giving them a safe space in which they can get things wrong and try again. This means they can tweak their AI strategy until they reach the result best suited to the organisation. 

How can AI and analytics help organisations when dealing with customers?

AI and analytics can help businesses tackle one of their most complex challenges – creating a single customer view. This is particularly a problem for businesses with long-standing and large customer bases, such as utilities, telcos and financial services. These types of organisations typically store their customer data across several disparate systems, built on different technologies, with varying degrees of completeness. This makes delivering a joined-up, seamless customer service an almost impossible task.

By layering an analytics platform on top of the technology stack, organisations can stitch together different data sets and systems to break down siloes and gain a single customer view. This delivers immediate improvements on the customer experience, since customer service agents are able to pull up all existing data on a customer, rather than sending them down a disjointed path where they are put on hold or transferred to multiple departments. 

But it doesn’t stop there – obtaining a single customer view can also help the business answer difficult questions that deliver a profound impact on the bottom line such as: who are my most valuable customers? How much demand will there be for our new service/launch? Is everyone using my service being billed correctly and accurately? This means the business will always make decisions based on data insight, with profound business impacts. 

What can we expect from Sagacity in 2022? 

Against the backdrop of the current cost of living and energy crises, one of the big areas for focus in the coming year will be on helping companies identify customers who need help and support to manage their bills. The price cap raise will ring alarm bells for many households across the UK, making it more important than ever for energy companies to proactively reach out to those who are struggling and do everything they can to ensure billing is correct. 

Data will be key to fulfilling these customer expectations. Sagacity will be helping major suppliers across the UK gain a more complete picture of who they are supplying and whether they need assistance. We’ve already been doing this, using our data expertise to reveal customers who receive financial support, such as benefit payments and pension credits. We then flag them to our clients, allowing them to help customers by allocating them to the correct tariffs, including social tariffs. Many customers don’t know the support they are entitled to, or what kind help may be available, so it’s great to be a part of the process of making this happen. 

 

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