5 things we learned after winning the Adobe Digital Analytics Competition

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Snow-topped mountains made a picturesque backdrop in the celebratory photos we took from Adobe’s office in Lehi, Utah last weekend after our team of One-Year MBA students won first place in the annual Adobe Digital Analytics Competition. This was the second year in a row that a Kellogg came out on top.

For the past 13 years, Adobe has given graduate and MBA students from around the country the opportunity to learn Adobe’s digital analytics products, showcase their understanding of analytics and presentation skills, and apply their business knowledge to tackle real-world challenges. This year John Elder ’15, Yajur Kapoor ’15 and I helped identify ways to improve the customer experience on the Lenovo Mexico website using analytics to drive the recommendations.

After placing first, our team was awarded a prize of $15,000. But a big check wasn’t the only takeaway. Below I’ve summed up five things our team learned from the experience.

HOW TO USE ADOBE DIGITAL ANALYTICS TOOLS:
While many people may associate Adobe to just Acrobat or Photoshop, Adobe actually has a wide variety of software in areas they call Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud. Within the Marketing Cloud sits the Adobe analytics software. The competition gave us the opportunity to use the analytics software to analyze real, live data for Lenovo. After attending a training session hosted by Adobe experts at the onset of the competition, we explored the software and begin to build upon our knowledge with on-the-job learning.

CHALLENGES THAT COMPANIES FACE ONLINE:
The experience using the analytics software exposed our team to the challenges companies face online in regards to the customer experience: attracting new customers, keeping them engaged and helping them through the purchase process. By tracking web metrics like bounce rate, page views, user paths, click-through rates and many others, we could identify areas of the website that could be improved to make the customer experience more positive and engaging.

CREATIVITY DRIVES VALUE IN BIG DATA:
More and more data is becoming available for companies to analyze their business, but driving insights from the data requires creativity. We learned the real value in big data is driven by creative insights and knowing where to look more so than the quantity of analysis or scope of number crunching.

IMPORTANCE OF TEAMWORK IN CASE COMPETITIONS:
Our team was one of many teams with interesting ideas and recommendations, but I believe what separated our team from the competition was the combination of our team members’ individual strengths. Bringing together three consultants with various backgrounds, strong work ethic and a desire to win made for a powerful recipe. Having the right people on the team aligned toward a common goal – to win first place – made all the difference.

ANALYTICS ALLOWS YOU TO LEAD WITH CONFIDENCE:
Kellogg analytics professor Florian Zettelmeyer preaches that executives need a working knowledge of data science to lead with confidence. Our team experienced this first hand. Having the right data to support our recommendations gave us tremendous confidence in delivering the message to the client.

Our team thanks Adobe and Lenovo for the opportunity to participate in this competition, and we look forward to seeing more Kellogg teams maintain the reputation of strong analytics in competitions like this in years to come.

Learn more about Kellogg’s unique approach to data analytics.

Alex Bourdeau ’15 is a student in Kellogg’s One-Year MBA Program and President of the One-Year Students Association. After completing his undergraduate business degree at University of Texas at Austin in 2009, Alex has spent the last five years at Accenture helping companies in various industries across a wide range of technology and management consulting engagements.

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