Useful? Or Just Interesting?

Thoughtful business leaders are hungry for new insights and – for better or worse – often find that there is no shortage of data. Dashboards, KPIs, quarterly program reviews and various marketing platforms all provide ample metrics, segments and discoveries. However, not all of this information is necessarily meaningful, or useful.

How do we know when data is useful…or merely interesting?

“Useful” insights can inform decision making. For example, a clear skew in your customer-base toward men over the age of 40 could guide important (and expensive) marketing decisions from creative development to media placement. This is useful, actionable information.

By contrast, “merely interesting” information – such as a coincidental, statistically insignificant spike in women buyers on one random Wednesday in March – has only entertainment value. Though we might try to understand the anomaly, going too far down the path in terms of analytics will only leave us wasting scarce analytical resources and executive bandwidth.

An insight might be interesting but not useful, if:

  • It’s too early to interpret the data because the results are incomplete and the statistical significance – or signal to noise ratio – is too low.
    • A marketing campaign shows five sales and an ROI above target on day one. You do not yet have enough information to draw conclusions or to scale the campaign.
  • It’s too early to interpret the results because we haven’t yet developed the proper context in which to frame them.
    • You launch a new product and notice an early trend toward female buyers in their 30s, but you don’t yet have a proper grasp of the product’s exposure to other audiences.
  • The scale of the data does not match the scale of the business issue being examined – too macro, too micro.
    • You build a model to predict tomorrow’s stock price. You wouldn’t use that same model to predict the stock price one year from now.
  • The analytical method was over-specified by the client, but a different analysis is actually required to address the question.
    • The client wants you to develop a predictive model for the likelihood of a homeowner to purchase new windows based only on age and income, but the purchase history and age of the home would provide better insights.
  • The juice isn’t worth the squeeze – meaning, the insight is not material to the business, while other analyses show more promise.
    • You could try to pinpoint the average highest level of education of your customer base…or you could analyze what offer they responded to most favorably.
  • The question attempts to find insights outside the range of available data. Extrapolation outside that range is risky.
    • Your model was trained on customers who spent between $100 and $400 on their first purchase. You can run the model on a segment of customers who spent $600, but not with guaranteed reliability.

Interesting without action is distraction.

With so much data available, particularly so much useful data, anything that consumes mindshare without implying actionable results is harmful. In fact, sliding down the rabbit hole of incomplete data not only distracts a team from progress but can actually obscure truly useful insights – sometimes unproductive insights can be so interesting that you cling to them unnecessarily, forming unhelpful biases.

Occasionally, however, following up on what seems (to the analyst) to be merely interesting is the right thing to do. This is often early in the exploration phase of a project. Some examples of situations in which “interesting” might actually be worth pursuing include:

  • When the insight hasn’t yet found its way to the right set of eyes, capable of seeing the utility because of broader knowledge, experience or context.
  • When the analyst hasn’t yet developed an intuitive understanding of the business.

In the early phases of data analysis, the team often walks different prototype insights around the business to see what clicks. This also allows us to gather data on how specific leaders process information, for later use in dashboard design.

A mature analyst is, above all, flexible. You need to know when to draw a hard line in terms of not allowing inappropriate interpretation. But you also need to know when to bend the (statistical) rules when the business needs timely directional insight and exploration.

Analysis is only good if it creates value.

As analysts, we create value through the insights we generate. To capture that value, a decision maker must receive, understand and use the insights. Thus, an analyst’s most important responsibility is to maintain the clearest communication pathway. One way to get this right is to keep “just interesting” clutter to a minimum, avoiding dilution, distraction and miscommunication.

Contata Solutions Achieves a Silver Microsoft Partner Certification

Data Analytics Specialist Certification Creates Synergistic Value For Microsoft Clients.

Minneapolis, July 11, 2018: Contata Solutions announced today that it has attained Silver
Certified Partner status in the Microsoft Partner Program as a Data Analytics Specialist. With
fewer than 5% of Microsoft Partners ever achieving certification across different competencies,
this distinguishes Contata as a premier specialist in the fast growing field of Data Analytics.
Contata has been helping customers turn data into actionable insights using best practices in
business intelligence, big data, and advanced data analytics.

“We are very happy to announce this certification. It further reinforces our position as a Microsoft
-centric organization focused on the fast-growing data analytics solutions space,” according to
Ali Farnsworth, Vice President of Sales of Contata Solutions.

The certification process is by necessity challenging. It requires not only rigorous testing of
concepts and practice of the Microsoft Certified Professionals, but also positive client references
showing projects completed, skills applied and updates at regular intervals.

Farnsworth adds, “The market is demanding expertise in Microsoft technologies, specifically
around data science. We want to be able to serve our clients in the best way possible, and that
was part of how we formed our decision to unify on the Microsoft platform. Innovation is always
a collaboration, in this case, a three-way partnership between Microsoft, our clients, and our
custom solutions.”

About Contata Solutions:

Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, USA, Contata is a data-analytics
applications company with deep experience in development of descriptive and predictive
analytics algorithms based on machine learning, as well as their integration into functioning web
and mobile based applications. To learn more, please contact us directly, or interact with us on
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.

Pradeep Sinha, PhD
Contata Solutions

New VP Sales joins Contata

Contata Solutions, a premier provider of data analytics and technology business solutions, is pleased to announce the addition of Ali Farnsworth to its team as Vice President of Sales. She will be based out of Contata Solutions’ Minneapolis headquarters and will be managing their United States practice.

Ali will be responsible for client solutions, bringing help in key areas such as data science and artificial
intelligence, to existing and new Contata clients. On the sales side, Ali will be focusing on growing the sales
team and building Contata’s presence in these key strategic areas. On the supply side, Ali will be working as
part of the management team to nurture and grow the delivery group comprising subject matter experts and
data science PhDs, towards better serving clients both now and the future. Ali brings a wealth of technology
and business experience to Contata Solutions, most recently as CEO of TSG in Minneapolis, and her many
years in the technology marketplace.

“We are thrilled to have such an excellent performer join our leadership team, and assist in continued effort
towards building Contata into a premier data and analytics technology firm,” said Pradeep Sinha PhD, Founder
and President of Contata Solutions. Dr. Sinha added, “We have known and worked with Ali Farnsworth for
years. She is the kind of difference-maker that will help our clients more readily achieve their goals and help us
build on our terrific growth.”

Contata Solutions, in business since 2001, is a Minneapolis MN based company providing data-analytics
solutions to medium and large businesses worldwide. With deep expertise in design, development, and
deployment of data-analytics and predictive modeling solutions, Contata helps companies become more datadriven
in managing every aspect of their business. Contata’s corporate headquarters and delivery center is in
Minneapolis MN, engineering offices in New Delhi India, and Real Estate solutions center in Blue Ridge, GA.
For further information call Dr. Pradeep Sinha at 612-977- 1700, or email Contata Solutions

Contata chooses to standardize on Microsoft Azure

Contata has chosen to standardize on Microsoft Azure and Big Data platform to fuel its analytics business.  In this fast-changing marketplace, it became clear to Contata that Microsoft is coming out on top in the world of analytics.  While still able to do tech-agnostic work, Contata has made the overall strategic decision to standardize on the Microsoft platform.  This will enable the utilization of existing tools and algorithms, matching with our clients’ technologies and platforms.

Contata Solutions announces Worbix Print

Contata Solutions announces Worbix Print, the company’s latest addition to its multi-channel distributed marketing service. With Worbix Print, content marketers can now plan and execute both digital and direct mail marketing programs using the same enterprise sponsored content.  Enterprise marketing programs can be shared with regional and local franchises, realtors, agents and associations while enabling local personalization. Worbix Print is available to Minnesota realtors via a special program with and the Northstar MLS.

Contata develops Customer Profile and Churn Model

Contata has had great success in recent months building high performing customer profiles for our clients.  We have been able to predict churn, specifically using indicators to alert when a customer may be unhappy or leaving.  Traditionally, this information can be taken from Salesforce, for instance, analyzed, and fed back into the Salesforce interface with visual indicators so action can be taken.  We have now turned this Customer Profile and Churn Model into a product offering.  Reach us for case studies, or to learn more.

Contata announces the availability of the Worbix Analytics Platform

Contata Solutions announces the availability of the Worbix Analytics Platform to support its Customer Intelligence Service. The platform incorporates the company’s national business and consumer databases, model building and testing tools, machine learning, and customer data visualization and presentation services. The platform is supporting customer intelligence projects in the real estate, insurance, distribution and home services market segments.

Contata Releases Distributed Marketing Platform

Worbix provides a multi-channel distributed marketing system.

Distributed Marketing refers to the process of creating market campaigns that are sent out on behalf of a group of related businesses to their respective consumer lists, with content customized for each business.

Worbix Distributed Marketing System module would be of benefit to any Distributed Business – one that has branch offices or divisions (possibly in multiple locations) each with its own list of contacts.

Example of such businesses include: 

  • Real Estate brokers that have agents with their own contact lists
  • Associations with chapters in different cities, with individual or corporate members
  • Franchisors with franchisees in different locations that have known customer lists

Contata Releases News Monitoring System

Contata has deployed new alerts service within its Worbix CRM system.

The system allows users to define alerts from their favorite sources – or all of news. It then monitors over 300K news sources, to process and deliver news items as per preferences for each user.

Worbix users use the service to track news about their customers and prospects, as well as to populate newsletters and other communications with fresh content.

Please contact us on for further information.

Contata Solutions & Hanifin Loyalty announce alliance

Contata Solutions and Hanifin Loyalty, a recognized provider of customer loyalty consulting services, agreed today to formally leverage and promote each other’s capabilities into the Customer Loyalty market. Hanifin Loyalty is also the force behind,  one of the most influential and highly-regarded blogs in the customer loyalty space. The alliance brings together two distinct, yet complementary, set of capabilities that are critical to the formulation and roll-out of effective Customer Loyalty programs. Hanifin Loyalty, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, specializes in Customer Strategy, Social CRM & Loyalty, and Lifecycle Marketing. Contata Solutions brings Data & Text Analytics capability to the alliance.