“This year two types of business change are deemed important – the speed of technological change and the changing consumer.”

Recently the results of PWC’s annual CEO Survey were released. This year over 1,000 CEOs across 90 territories were interviewed to discover, amongst other things, the major threats that keep them up at night. Traditionally this list is seen as a strong barometer of the macro trends that will affect global business over the forthcoming 12 months. Unsurprisingly uncertainty around Brexit made the list, as did old favourites such as over regulation, terror threats and exchange rate volatility. However, this year change was also identified as a major concern. In particular two types of change – the speed of technological change and the changing consumer.

Benjamin Disraeli was right when he said ‘change is constant’, however, what he failed to mention was the rate of change. The speed at which change is now manifesting itself is a real problem for boardrooms across the globe as organisations not only struggle to keep up with the pace, but fail to put the right structure in place in order to be able to respond to market shifts quickly, effectively and, most importantly, profitably.

The report revealed that much of anxiety stems around the promise and perils of machine intelligence in the workplace. However, as data science becomes more mainstream it is not something to be feared – it is something to be embraced.

However, it’s not just technological change that CEOs are wary of, it’s the changing consumer. Seemingly daily, consumers are becoming more sophisticated and more demanding of the organisations they favour with their custom.  Furthermore, there are scores of psychological studies which show that attitudes and tastes are also changing faster than ever. Keeping up with the customer is now a full time job.

Ironically, one of the most effective ways to keep abreast of changing behaviour is through the application of another of the CEOs major concerns: machine learning!

Building predictive models to show where customers are heading in the future is one of the most powerful opportunities provided by modern marketing which is powered by data science. At Outra through deep learning we provide in-depth knowledge answering a raft of business critical questions such as which customer segments are the most loyal, identifying untapped potential, determining which customers are most likely to switch etc. Moreover we can model the impact of each customer segment on P&L, brand and corporate strategy, not to mention use it to inform new product development, supply chain management and operations. With behaviour now changing with the wind if you aren’t looking at where your customers are heading then the future is a very dangerous place.