Traditionally, Office Depotâs European sales were primarily sourced through an offline, mail-order catalog model drive by telemarketing activities. The company has since moved to a hybrid retail model, combining offline and online shopping, which required a data consolidation strategy that optimized the different channels. Additionally, the companyâs myriad of backend systems and disparate supply chain data collected from across Europe had become difficult to analyze.
Using Talend, Office Depot can now ingest data from its vast collection of operational systems. The architecture includes an on-premise Hadoop cluster using Hortonworks, Talend Data Integration, and Data Quality to perform checks and quality control on data before ingesting it into the Hubâs data lake.
Powering Use Cases from Supply Chain to Finance
Integrating online and offline data results in a unified, 360-degree view of the customer and a clear picture of the customer journey. Office Depot can now create more-specific audience segments based on how customers prefer to buy, and tailor strategies to reach the most valuable consumers whether they buy online or in-store. They can compare different offline customer experiences to see how they are influenced by digital ads. Customer service operators have complete information on a customer, so they can talk to them as they know their details.
Office Depotâs data hub approach also provides high-quality data to all back-officeÂ functions throughout the organization, including supply chain and finance. Office Depot can now integrate data from the range of supply chain back-end systems in use in various countries, and answer questions such as which distribution center has the most efficient pick-line and why; or which center is in the risky position of having the least amount of stock for the best-selling products.
Data aids, not replace judgement
Data is a tool and means to help build a consensus to facilitate human decision-making but not replace it. Analysis converts data into information, information via context leads to insight. Insights lead to decision making which ultimately leads to outcomes that brings value. So, data is just the start, context and intuition plays a role.
[ DATA SCIENCE Q&A]
Q:Is it better to spend 5 days developing a 90% accurate solution, or 10 days for 100% accuracy? Depends on the context?
A: * premature optimization is the root of all evils
* At the beginning: quick-and-dirty model is better
* Optimization later
– Depends on the context
– Is error acceptable? Fraud detection, quality assurance
Buying and selling stocks has dramatically changed since the advent of the web.
Online brokerages have made trades more accessible, faster, and dramatically cheaper for the retail investor.
Prior to the web, it was common for a full-service broker to charge 2.5% for a stock trade. Now transactions are low-cost commodities with many trades costing less than $10 (or even free).
But the ease of executing trades, access to account data, and the tsunami of financial information available online hasnât taken away some common challenges for the typical investor.
To understand this experience, we benchmarked the user experience of six top US-based brokerage websites to understand how people are using these services and where the process can be improved.
We benchmarked the desktop and mobile user experiences of the following six brokerage websites:
Charles Schwab (schwab.com)
Fidelity Investments (fidelity.com)
Merrill Lynch (ml.com)
TD Ameritrade (tdameritrade.com)
We collectedÂ SUPR-Q data, including NPS data, and investigated reasons for using the website, usersâ attitudes toward the website, and how well people understood key terms and features. We also supplemented the empirical data with a guideline review using the Calibrated Evaluatorâs Guide (CEG) where evaluators score the websites using 107 standardized criteria that have been shown to impact the user experience.
Benchmark Study Details
We recruited 199 participants in August 2018 for a retrospective studyÂ where we asked current brokerage account holders to reflect on their most recent experiences using their brokerage companyâs website.
Participants in the study answered the 8-item SUPR-Q (including theÂ Net Promoter Score) and questions about their prior experiences.
Quality of the Brokerage Website User Experience: SUPR-Q
The SUPR-Q is a standardized measure of the quality of a websiteâs user experience and is a good way to gauge usersâ attitudes. Itâs based on a rolling database of around 150 websites across dozens of industries, including brokerages.
Scores are percentile ranks and tell you how a website experience ranks relative to the other websites. The SUPR-Q provides an overall score as well as detailed scores for subdimensions of trust, usability, appearance, and loyalty.
TheÂ scores for the six brokerage websites are well above average, which isnât too surprising given the financial incentive to make transactions easy and frequent. The average SUPR-Q is at the 92ndÂ percentile (scoring better than 92% of the websites in the database). Merrill Lynch has the lowest SUPR-Q of the group with a score at the 88thÂ percentile. E*Trade and TD Ameritrade lead the group with scores at the 95thÂ percentile. Brokerages as a group also scored higher than the banking websites we recently evaluated.
Usability Scores & Trust
We asked participants to reflect on how easy they thought it was to use and to navigate through their brokerage websites. Fidelity has the highest score in the group (at the 93rdÂ percentile) and Vanguard has the lowest usability score at the 77thÂ percentile.
Not surprisingly, trust scores for this group are also high as users are confident in the companies that handle their money. Participants rated their brokerage companies very high in trust and credibility, and all sites in our study scored between the 92ndÂ and 99thÂ percentiles. This is higher than our group of retail banking websites,Â which had trust scores between the 76thÂ and 95thÂ percentiles.
Loyalty/Net Promoter Scores
The brokerage websites have an average NPS of aboutÂ 41%. While weâve seen that users are more reluctant to recommend their banking websites (with an average NPS of 16%), the same was not the case with other financial websites. This relatively high likelihood to recommend could also be from the effects of a long-term bull market and 401k retirement accounts are at all time highs[pdf]. U.S. equities are up about 40% in the prior two years leading up to the data collection period in August 2018.Â That is, people may be more interested in purchasing stocks, viewing mutual fund balances, and recommending to friends because of positive financial experiences (as opposed to actual differences in website changes).
Use of Brokerage Sites & Mobile Apps
As a part of this benchmark, we asked participants how they accessed their brokerage site and the activities they attempted on their last visit and in the last year. Not surprisingly, most participants use a desktop or laptop computer to access their brokerage site. However, on average, about 35% of participants reported using their mobile devices (about equally between the mobile website or mobile app).
The mobile app is most popular for checking portfolios while the desktop site is used for tasks such as investment research and transferring funds. The brokerage mobile app usage is lower than the banking appÂ usage, which showed significantly more mobile app and mobile website usage (46% and 64%, respectively).
Overall, checking account balances is the top reason to visit the brokerage sites (27%), followed by looking at the recent performance of stocks and investments (24%). The top tasks were the same across desktop and mobile. More details on the mobile app experience are available in the report.
The Learning Curve & Understanding Jargon
Users on some of the brokerage sites (Charles Schwab, E*Trade, and Vanguard) mentioned a steep learning curve at the start of use, especially with complex jargon.
âTo the uncertain investor they have a lot of information that is complex and it can be very overwhelming looking at all of the investing lingo they have on their website. Such as looking at their EFTS, bonds, stocks, 401k, and IRA optionsâthere are a lot of things that you can choose from and getting started is complex.ââVanguard user
âHonestly, my only problems were at the beginning, when I was still learning their siteâs features and layout.ââCharles Schwab user
âI was a little lost and there wasnât a lot of guidance. I had to do a lot of my own research to get started.ââE*Trade user
To further assess how participants understood common jargon, we asked participants to describe three common brokerage terms in their own words. A YTD return was the most widely known term (91%), whereas only 64% of participants knew what a prospectus was, and 73% knew what an ETF was. This comprehension was generally higher than the health insurance websites.
Calling Customer Service
As with banking websites, taking calls is expensive and time consuming. On average, 13% of brokerage website respondents reported contacting customer service in the last year (lower than the 20% on banking websites and 30% for health insurance websites). Being able to accomplish the task without calling customer service was one of the key drivers of UX quality; it explained 8% of the variation in SUPR-Q scores.
Also, like the banking websites, the top reason for brokerage respondents to call customer support is login troubles. However, this only accounted for 5% of participants calling in (compared to 29% for banking and 21% for health insurance). Other common reasons for calling in were researching particular products (stocks, bonds, ETFs) (5%), and transferring funds (3%).
Having an online chat system can help reduce the number of calls to customer support and itâs something our respondents were looking for.
âI wish they had a way to contact customer service other than by phone. I prefer using email or chat to contact customer service so that I can have text to refer back to if Iâm trying to get help with something, but they only seem to allow phone contact.ââVanguard user
In the guideline review (more info can be found in the report), Vanguard has the lowest scores on Help & Information partly because it doesnât have an online chat option.
Product Pages Challenging
While we didnât conduct a usability evaluation for this industry, to identify problem areas, we did conduct a detailed guideline review using the CEG. The top weakness identified by evaluators on both Merrill Lynch and Fidelity was the organization of the product pages.
For Merrill Lynch, the website lacks a clear path to finding investment products as the information is not organized effectively. The page seems to lack an element hierarchy or sidebar to narrow choices into products like ETFs, Retirement Accounts, Stocks, or Mutual Funds.
Â âItâs a little hard to navigate unless you know exactly what youâre looking for. Otherwise, it takes time to navigate and look at all of their options.ââMerrill Lynch user
Image 1: Product pages form the Merrill Lynch website shows a lack of hierarchy on the page.
A similar challenge is on the Fidelity website. While it has a better visual arrangement, the vast number of products are hard to differentiate for the typical retail investor as Fidelity has no apparent overall product comparison page to understand and differentiate the financial products.
Image 2: Thereâs no overall investment products page where users can look at products with descriptions from a high-level view.
Image 3: Users must navigate to each individual product page to get any information, which can seem tedious.
The websites that performed well in the product pages category, like E*Trade, have an overview of the investment products with short descriptions and an option to learn more on a detailed product page.
Image 4: E*Trade makes it easy for users to quickly digest the different product options and see where they want to dive deeper.
To better understand whatâs affecting SUPR-Q scores, we asked respondents to agree/disagree to the following attributes of their brokerage website on a five-point scale from 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree.
My portfolio dashboard is clear and understandable.
I can buy or sell stocks and bonds easily.
The [Brokerage] site is consistent however I use it.
I can find and understand my investment fees and taxes.
I can accomplish what I want to do without calling customer support.
The [Brokerage] site helps me to research and understand investment products.
The [Brokerage] website keeps my information secure.
I can find my account details quickly and securely.
Information Security & Dashboards
The top key driver for the brokerage website user experience is keeping user information safe and secure. âThe brokerage website keeps my information secureâ explained 16% of the variation in SUPR-Q scores.
The second biggest driver of the perception of the website UX quality is having a clear portfolio dashboard.
Clear dashboards explain 12% of the variation in SUPR-Q scores. Checking portfolio balances is also a top task for this group, so itâs not surprising this is found to be so important to the quality of the brokerage website experience.
The six sites we tested all scored high for the item âMy portfolio dashboard is clear and understandableâ (Item 1). The lowest score is on TD Ameritrade where only 88% agreed or strongly agreed compared to the highest for Vanguard and Charles Schwab (both 94%).
An analysis of the user experience of six brokerage websites found:
1. Brokerage websites offer above average UX across devices. Current users find their brokerage website experience well above average, with SUPR-Q scores falling at the 92ndÂ percentile.Â Merrill Lynch scored the lowest but still above average at 88% while E*Trade and TD Ameritrade lead the pack at the 95thÂ percentile. Mobile apps are widely used in this industry with 35% of respondents reporting using the app or website within the past year.
2. Users need to overcome a steep learning curve and overwhelming product pages. Respondents on half of the brokerage sites (Charles Schwab, E*Trade, and Vanguard) mentioned a learning curve when first using the website. Many said the brokerage sites didnât lend themselves to novice investors and some jargon was confusing to learn at first. Improved on-boarding and more common language could improve the experience on these sites. The product pages, in particular, may be difficult for less experienced users to differentiate and select.
3. An understandable dashboard and security are key drivers of UX. The top two key drivers of the brokerage website user experience were an understandable portfolio dashboard (12%) and information security (16%). Users want a quick and easy view of their portfolio and they donât want to worry about their personal information being compromised (they probably also want their portfolio balances to increase).
From Joe Biden’s smirks, smiles, laughs, sharp elbows and impolite interruptions to Paul Ryan’s focussed and serious attitude, 2012 VP debate was all fun and informative. Both the sides were trying to be reasonable and focussed. Along the way we got an ocean of hilarious tweets that emerged and made us laugh.
Here is my list of 12 tweets that stood out in yesterdayâs debate:
Patton Oswalt — Ryan is a nervous Walmart manager. Biden is an irate customer with the receipt, the warranty & he’s friends w/ the store owner. #debate
Josh Branson — BREAKING: Post-debate poll has … Biden interrupting the results. #vpdebate
Bill Maher ââª— Hello 9 1 1? There s an old man beating a child on my tv
GuyEndoreKaiser — Tonight’s debate is scheduled for ninety minutes, but Paul Ryan is already claiming he can finish in fifty something.
Kelly Oxford — While Ryan speaks, Biden looks like he’s trying to order a drink at the bar and the bartender is ignoring him. #vpdebate
Jill Morris ââª– The VP candidates get to sit because they’re exhausted from standing up for our values. âª#VPDebate
Paul Ryan Gosling ââª– Hey girl, I’m not taking nervous sips of water, I’m drinking every time Biden laughs at me. âª#vpdebate
Jose Antonio Vargas ââª– Before this âª#VPDebate, âª@JoeBiden had a Venti macchiato and two cans of Red Bull.
Morgan Murphy ââª– Biden’s teeth are so white they’re voting for Romney. âª#VPDebate
Indecision ââª– Watered-down sanctions are the worst. You need four just to get tipsy. âª#vpdebate
James Garrett ââª– I kind of feel like Joe Biden is Kanye and Paul Ryan is Taylor Swift. âª#VPDebate
National Review ââª– Wait, is Biden yelling at Martha Raddatz right now? I thought he was debating Paul Ryan…âª#VPDebate
Jeffrey Wisenbaugh ââª– Biden is yelling less. I think it’s getting closer to his bed time. âª#sleepy âª#VPDebate
Chad Schomber ââª– To think, all this just to sway 4-6% of undecided voters. And those folks are not watching the âª#VPdebate
Seth Masket ââª– Actually, this is like if Aaron Sorkin wrote an exchange between the Skipper and Gilligan. âª#vpdebate
Data Have Meaning
We live in a Big Data world in which everything is quantified. While the emphasis of Big Data has been focused on distinguishing the three characteristics of data (the infamous three Vs), we need to be cognizant of the fact that data have meaning. That is, the numbers in your data represent something of interest, an outcome that is important to your business. The meaning of those numbers is about the veracity of your data.
[ DATA SCIENCE Q&A]
Q:What do you think about the idea of injecting noise in your data set to test the sensitivity of your models?
A: * Effect would be similar to regularization: avoid overfitting
* Used to increase robustness
It should come as no surprise that 2018 was a crazy and explosive year for BI and analytics. As a market that changes on what feels like a daily basis, thereâs always a new technology to learn about or a new way to up your analytics game. With such a fast-paced industry, thereâs never a lack of things to write about and here at Sisense, we take it upon ourselves to be a one-stop shop for all the analytics content and learning you need.
With that in mind, itâs time for one of my favorite posts of the year! Hereâs a wrap up of the top 10 blogs that you shared the most over the past 365 days (based on data, of course).
This year Gartner Grapevine was jam-packed with impactful sessions and tons of analytics knowledge. In his day one wrap-up our VP Product, Boaz Farkash, talks about his key takeaways for BI leaders to address in order to scale value for their customers. Spoiler alert: it has to do with a fundamental shift in the market of BI turning to AI.
Often mistaken for one another, it can be confusing to differentiate between data analytics and data science. Despite the two being interconnected, they provide different results and pursue different approaches. We break down the differences in this post.
Embedded Analytics, or analytics capabilities bundled into business applications, are making a dramatic foray. If youâre not already using embedded analytics in your organization, this post will help you understand what data youâre leaving on the table.
Part of our new series, GoFigure!, this post and the accompanying analysis report and interactive dashboard dig through data to see if there are any connections between Bitcoin and The Dow. Our findings might surprise you.
Sure, you can build your own analytics solution. But, by the time itâs ready to launch your competitors will be way ahead of you. Crafted for the R&D professional, this post breaks down what functionalities you should consider when embedding analytics.
Few fields may be as optimized for predictive analytics compared to retail. In a field where businesses succeed by effectively uncovering what customers will like next, predictive analytics can be the difference between a strong revenue stream and a dwindling sales pool.
Although every day is a day to celebrate the women who are shaping the data world, on this yearâs International Womenâs day we celebrated 17 of the most awesome ladies out there championing the data and analytics cause. If you donât know these women, you should!
Todayâs financial service providers operate almost entirely online, and every single transaction and penny transmitted creates hundreds of data points. This post details how financial service organizations can find the right data streams and KPIs.
Millions of people live as refugees and individuals seeking asylum. Where are they fleeing and where are they seeking sanctuary? In this edition of GoFigure!, our blog post, original analysis, and interactive dashboard take a look at data from the World Bank and reveal insights on the world refugee crisis.
Every year BI vendors wait on pins and needles to see where theyâll be placed in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms. This yearâs top blog post announces our exciting position (Visionaries!) as well as what our VP Strategic Growth and Innovation, Guy Levy Yurista, PHD, thinks the Quadrant means for the analytics market.
While the increasing use of encryption helps smartphone users protect their data, another sometime related technology, cloud computing, can undermine those protections.
The reason: encryption can keep certain smartphone data outside the reach of law enforcement. But once the data is uploaded to companies’ computers connected to the Internet–referred to as “the cloud”–it may be available to authorities with court orders.
“The safest place to keep your data is on a device that you have next to you,” said Marc Rotenberg, head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “You take a bit of a risk when you back up your device. Once you do that it’s on another server.”
Encryption and cloud computing “are two competing trends,” Mr. Rotenberg said. “The movement to the cloud has created new privacy risks for users and businesses. Encryption does offer the possibility of restoring those safeguards, but it has to be very strong and it has to be under the control of the user.”
Apple is fighting a government request that it help the Federal Bureau of Investigation unlock the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, the shooter in the December terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.
The FBI believes the phone could contain photos, videos and records of text messages that Mr. Farook generated in the final weeks of his life.
The data produced before then? Apple already provided it to investigators, under a court search warrant. Mr. Farook last backed up his phone to Apple’s cloud service, iCloud, on Oct. 19.
Encryption scrambles data to make it unreadable until accessed with the help of a unique key. The most recent iPhones and Android phones come encrypted by default, with a user’s passcode activating the unique encryption key stored on the device itself. That means a user’s contacts, photos, videos, calendars, notes and, in some cases, text messages are protected from anyone who doesn’t have the phone’s passcode. The list includes hackers, law enforcement and even the companies that make the phones’ software: Apple and Google.
However, Apple and Google software prompt users to back up their devices on the cloud. Doing so puts that data on the companies’ servers, where it is more accessible to law enforcement with court orders.
Apple says it encrypts data stored on its servers, though it holds the encryption key. The exception is so-called iCloud Keychain data that stores users’ passwords and credit-card information; Apple says it can’t access or read that data.
Officials appear to be asking for user data more often. Google said that it received nearly 35,000 government requests for data in 2014 and that it complies with the requests in about 65% of cases. Apple’s data doesn’t allow for a similar comparison since the company reported the number of requests from U.S. authorities in ranges in 2013.
Whether they back up their smartphones to the cloud, most users generate an enormous amount of data that is stored outside their devices, and thus more accessible to law enforcement.
“Your phone is an incredibly intricate surveillance device. It knows everyone you talk to, where you are, where you live and where you work,” said Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer at cybersecurity firm Resilient Systems Inc. “If you were required to carry one by law, you would rebel.”
Google, Yahoo Inc. and others store users’ emails on their servers. Telecom companies keep records of calls and some standard text messages.
Inc. and Twitter Inc. store users’ posts, tweets and connections.
Snapchat didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Write to Jack Nicas at email@example.com
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