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50 Most Admired Companies of the Year 2020

An Interview with Eric Huang, Advanced Analytics and Research Lab Founder and CEO: ‘Our Goal is to Democratize the Use of Analytics for Everyone’

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“Our service/solution hybrid approach is the best way for any organizations to obtain the benefits of analytics extremely quickly.”

The majority of businesses operate in a traditional industry do not know where to start with analytics, but most know they need to start. Analytics solutions that exist in the market require heavy customization. Once integrated, often has very low adoption and utilization. Gaining benefits and monetizing data is extremely difficult as it requires a cross-discipline team of technology, statistics, and business.

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present Advanced Analytics and Research Lab (AAARL) —an affordable analytic service provider, consultancy, and education shop. The company helps organizations to fully streamline and utilize data to increase productivity, improve insights, and ultimately achieve their goals.

AAARL is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

Eric Huang, Advanced Analytics and Research Lab Founder and CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Explain your services in brief.

We have three lines of services:

  1. Analytics-as-a-Service: No-Hassle way to gain analytical and data capabilities. A monthly fee equivalent to one analyst’s salary will get you access to a team of analytics professionals, including project manager, senior analyst, and junior analyst as well as access to our suite of proprietary models and algorithms for a wide variety of needs.
  • Access to AAARL’s internal tools which consist of algorithms (dynamic pricing, customer analysis, machine learning, fundraising models), automation methods, templates, and reports. We will then customize each to suit client’s specific challenges.
  1. Consulting / Development Projects
  • Custom made algorithms, analysis on data, strategic data consulting.thesiliconreview-image-advanced-analytics-and-research-lab-20
  • Development (build algorithms, dashboards, automation processes).
  • Consulting (consult on analytics, processes, intelligence gathering, analysis, strategy).
  1. Education
  • Public and private education.
  • Online analytics learning materials.
  • Public industry events.

We help organizations upgrade their teams’ analytics capabilities by augmenting their business or organizational functions with data, advanced analytics, and automation.

We are looking to build the next generation of intelligent teams and act as long term partners for their data and analytics needs.

The analytical world is very complicated. Here are some specific use cases:

  • Analyze data, give insights, drive decision making.
  • Build algorithms or quantitative models for repeatable processes.
  • Automate reporting (using BI tools or ETL pipelines).
  • Data and analysis strategy (help companies strategize, standardize, and implement practical analytics).
  • Intelligence gathering (timing process flow at restaurants, observing operations, gathering competitive data).

Q. How can we eliminate complexity in data-related functions using your services?

We provide a hassle-free experience. Our team is already pre-trained and can get on-board within days to start building or solving data and analytical problems. One key problem that organizations often have is that they do not know where to start with analytics. We approach this by starting with the strategy and tell you where the low hanging fruits of high ROI projects are. Then, we’ll design, build, test, implement, and maintain it for you.

A one-stop-shop for analytics and usage of data:

  • Wide range of services. AAARL’s breadth is what stands us apart.
  • Help our clients make money, save money, save time, and have a peace of mind with better intelligence on all aspects of their organization.

Q. What is the main purpose of data analysis? How does it help organizations in decision making?

The most simplified steps of making a decision are to start with the problem, understand criteria’s, figure out options, analyze the options, then make a decision. Data and analytics help with the analysis part of the decision making. One of the hardest parts about decision making in the business world is that there is always imperfect information. To have good data and analysis significantlyreduce the possibility of making errors, and it gives the mathematically most optimized way forward. 

Importantly, data analysis helps diagnose and reveal problems through descriptive analysis. Data strategy can identify goals and KPIs and measure the performance to keep all parts of the team accountable when trying to reach the goal. It helps management fully understand what goes on within important activities and processes; thus reduces blind spots.

Moreover, in situations of high uncertainty, it provides probabilistic and mathematical views on outcomes that will give the best course of action forward.

Q. Data analytics may breach the privacy of the customers as their information is visible to their parent companies. How can we protect the interest of the customer in this case?

Many best practices prevent privacy problems, and to be a good analytics organization, you must be very familiar with this. Our team has very strict privacy and security guidelines that minimize the risk of privacy and security related issues. Beyond that, a very robust emergency plan should be in place in the case of data privacy or security breach. In those situations, honesty and transparency is a must.

Q. Does your data analysis tool empower users to retrieve, combine, interact with, explore, and visualize data from any combination of sources?

Absolutely! Unlike software or platforms, our niche is in providing solutions to highly specialized and complicated data sources. All our clients need to do is provide us their objectives and access to information and we do the rest. What makes us special is that we have a very cross-discipline approach to solving specialized problems.

Besides, we have wide breadth in all the segments, be it technology, business, or statistics. Most other analytics shops focus either on business or on analytics. Rarely together.

Q. What are the anticipated trends in the data analytics segment?

The following are the anticipated trends in the data analytics segment:

  • Organizations are investing heavily in BI and Analytics Software, currently
  • Without people to interpret it, adoption and utilization is very low
  • Organizations are beginning to understand the needs of more advanced analytics
  • ML and AI adoption cases are coming quickly in all verticals and industries
  • AI tech like Natural Language Process, Image Recognition will be more and more prominent
  • More investment in advanced analytics is crucial to stay ahead of the competition
  • The Internet of things will continue to grow at an exponential rate, giving fantastic opportunities
  • Companies will move along the analytics journey map

Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?

Yes, we’re launching new educations, as well as a text and natural language processing service. The new text service will focus on automating categorizations blocks of texts. For example, in a list of 1000 bad reviews for one restaurant, what are the categories; is it the service time, food temperature, service…etc. that are causing poor reviews. In another case, for manufacturing, taking feedback from customers, and directing it to the right departments or distribution centres. This could yield significant savings. Beyond that, we are providing information mining and scrapping services.

We have also launched a new donation maximization algorithm that allows non-profits to attach a probability of donations and ultimately saving significant costs in donor outreach.

Q. What are your trajectories for the next five years?

We seek to make organizations far more efficient by helping them adopt analytics, data science, and AI; innovate processes and products for adapting analytics for traditional industries. We also plan to go into different industries (including geographic expansion) while building on use cases along the way.

Moreover, we will be building software and recurring services in addition to venturing into more education/public-facing services.

Eric Huang: Passionate about your data and analytical challenges

Eric Huang is the founder and CEO of Advanced Analytics and Research Lab (AAARL.CA). Eric has an undergraduate degree in Honors Business Administration, a Master of Science in Analytics from Ivey Business School, as well as an Honors Specialization in Economics from Western University. He has worked in various capacities in consulting, business development, finance, and academia, and has experience teaching undergraduate and master level students in fun, engaging, and practical ways. Eric is a fun and friendly individual who loves to learn about everything in the world and is also an avid coffee drinker, motorcycle rider, barista, photographer, and volunteer.

“What makes us special is that we have a very cross-discipline approach to solving specialized problems.”