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Analytics Magazine

Inside Story — Analytics: The more things change …

Just when I thought that artificial intelligence and machine learning were the latest, hottest, highest-flying topics in the analytics orbit (January/February Inside Story), along comes a shooting star called “customer success management,” or simply CSM to those in the know. “The CSM field is exploding,” Vijay Mehrotra schooled me in an email. “There are headhunters dedicated to placing CSMs!”

Turns out the field not only has its own acronym (a requirement in today’s short-handed world), several professional groups have emerged to promote the CSM profession and CSM practitioners.

So what, exactly, is customer success management and what does a CSM manager do? Mehrotra passed along this definition from the Customer Success Management Association: “Customer success management is an integration of functions and activities of marketing, sales, professional services, training and support into a new profession to meet the needs of recurring revenue model companies.” OK, so what does that have to do with analytics?

For that, you’ll need to read this month’s Analyze This! column in which Mehrotra, a professor at the University of San Francisco, explains how and why he is training his MBA students to become “successful CSMs through a collection of curated courses and industry projects.” As Vijay notes in his column, it’s about the “shift in the enterprise software market toward hosted software as a service (SaaS) solutions.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be an issue of Analytics mag without a heaping helping of artificial intelligence and machine learning. In this month’s installment of “Healthcare Analytics,” Rajib Ghosh, founder and CEO of the consulting company Health Roads and another longtime Analytics columnist, serves up an insightful piece on “How A.I. and blockchain can curb rising healthcare costs” in what futurists and A.I. scientists call “The Third Wave.”

Meanwhile, Joseph Byrum, chief data scientist at Principal Financial Group, wades into the “Second Wave of A.I.,” which we’re in now, in his article, “Machines, man and intelligence.” Byrum takes a deep dive into artificial intelligence, starting with the technology’s development from its most basic building blocks. Byrum will travel further down the A.I. path in upcoming issues as he explores the intelligent enterprise of the future.

If there’s one thing we can say about the dynamic world of analytics it’s this: The more things change, the more it’s anything but the same.

– Peter Horner, editor

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