With great power goes great responsibility.
—J. Hector Fezandie
More organizations are moving their analytics efforts away from Waterfall to Agile practices. As such, they can expect to encounter a number of enduring challenges as well as some new and especially formidable ones.
This chapter briefly describes some of the biggest obstacles and opportunities that enterprises will face as they remake analytics, try to move more quickly, adopt new methods, and deal with constantly shifting business and tech landscapes.
A TALE OF TWO RETAILERS
Writing for the New York Times, Charles Duhigg caused quite the stir in a February 2012 article called “How Companies Learn Your Secrets.” Duhigg described how Andrew Pole, a statistician for big-box retailer Target
was able to identify about 25 products that, when analyzed together, allowed him to assign each shopper a “pregnancy prediction” score. More important, he could also estimate her due date to within a small window, so Target could send coupons timed to very specific stages of her pregnancy.1
And the company did just that with astonishing accuracy. Case in point: Target knew that a 16-year-old girl was pregnant before the girl’s own father did. After seeing the flyer that Target had mailed his daughter, the father stormed into a store outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and demanded to see the manager.
“My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending ...