David Dittmann is the Director Business Intelligence & Analytics Services for Procter & Gamble’s Global Business Services organization. He is responsible for Business Intelligence and the Analytics organizations spanning across P&G’s Global Business Units.
With more than 18 years of experience at P&G, David’s career has focused on leveraging Analytics into P&G’s Marketing, Product Supply and Customer Business Development organizations. Previously, he was responsible for establishing Business Intelligence & Analytics for Asia in Singapore. His organizations have been recognized with numerous industry awards. David is a frequent industry speaker and is passionate around using analytics to make unconventional connections across all aspects of business.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial & Systems Engineering and a Master of Science in Operations Research & Engineering Management both from The Ohio State University. He currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife Shannon and three children Nathan, Abigail and Alyssa
5 Questions with David Dittmann
1. What first interested you in analytics?
I wanted to impress a girl. There was a business simulation contest where students at school were competing to get the highest score. The person who was winning was getting a lot of attention. Unfortunately, I sucked at the game….like last place bad. So I started reading trying to figure out an algorithm to beat the game. At the end, I was able to “solve” the game by running it through an optimization program. I won!!! That was a win that taught me an even more important lesson in analytics. The cute girl didn’t care about analytics…she cared about the football player who happened to be winning …correlation doesn’t equal causation.
2. What have you learned in your current job about leading an analytics organization that you wish you'd known on day one?
Be bold and take big swings. Don’t play it safe and work at the lower levels of the organization hoping success will build on itself. Solve the biggest problems the company has--the rest will take care of itself. Early on during a budget review, I was asking for a relatively small amount of money and having a hard time getting it. I thought we had a great track record of which I spent a lot of time reminding people. Finally, my boss gave me great feedback… “I don’t believe you are driving the value you claim because if you were then I would hear about it from my peers. Instead, I only hear it from you.” That is when I realized the importance of Senior Management recognizing our contribution.
3. Can you describe what you mean by the term “valuing analytics”?
As an analytics community, we sometimes treat analytics as a religion. Does this business leader “get” analytics? Will they blindly fund me either because of fear of being left behind or because they have an intellectual fascination? Early on in an analytics organization's lifecycle, this is a classic approach. What happens as your organization matures? How should the organization value incremental investments in analytics when compared to Advertising or R&D? Personally, I found I was not equipped to answer this question so we needed to become more professional about how we valued analytics.
4. In your session synopsis, you touch on the “wheel” of valuing analytics. What components make up the “wheel”?
I find it very hard to create a believable value of what my analytics organization generates over the course of a year. This is especially true if you don’t want to spend your time A/B testing every single project. The reason I stress believable is because even if I only look at the “certified” value creation of the projects we work on, I quickly reach a value of over $1B per year. If the organization believed that number, I would never have to have a budget review and I would negotiate a new compensation package with a few more zeros for myself. So we started to look at six additional measures to understand and calibrate our value. Out of these, some are very qualitative such as: How does Senior Management view the contributions of the analytics organization? Others are very quantitative such as a very well defined and audited case study. And finally measure activity…How many users used our solution? Each measure has an issue, but when taken together they provide a good picture to how the organization is generating value.
5. Does a company’s organization structure say a lot about the value they place on analytics?
I want to say no it doesn’t, but it does. If a company chooses to invest in executive leadership in analytics, it is a symbol to the rest of the organization of the value placed on analytics. More importantly, it is a surrogate for access to the C-Suite, which is the fuel for innovation and working on the right projects.