In the last 4 years there has been a 1,600% increase in the number of job postings on Indeed.com containing “Data Scientist”. This enormous and sustained growth indicates that data science isn’t just a passing fad, it’s a proven game-changer. The driving idea behind data science is innovative uses of data to simplify a task. Data science should make you think of shopping recommendations, smart homes, and autonomous vehicles. These innovations collectively represent a dramatic shift from spreadsheets and reports to knowledge as you need it to complete a task at hand.
Creating the Right Tools for the Job
At Homes.com we are pursuing our own brand of data science with simple and innovative uses of data. First, we’ve started empowering internal teams with a host of on-demand, self-service data tools. Consider the task of a sales manager to gauge revenue potential in various markets and refocus sales teams to the areas of greatest opportunity. Before data science, the task would take weeks to compile from multiple reports with an overly simplistic forecast of the future. With data science, we can create a real-time, clear, and complete picture of where our opportunities lie based on the current customer set, available inventory, and patterns in web traffic. Those opportunities are presented in an easy-to-use web application to compare and contrast while building an effective strategy.
Translating Insight to Action
Self-service data tools provide a whole stack of data insights to sort through, but what if the best insights could be delivered directly to you? At Homes.com a network of notifications are emailed daily to alert individuals when new inventory is available, when zip codes start to show an uptick in transaction volume, and which real estate agents might be interested in purchasing one of our products. The magic of data science is simplifying the list of all possible markets, products, and inventory openings into a recommendation to pursue the highest value opportunity. Business decisions without data science usually rely on assumptions, anecdotes, or dumb-luck to stumble into opportunity. Email alerts help our teams navigate a complex and changing landscape of opportunities in real-time with the knowledge to execute.
Using Data for Good
Data Science doesn’t just help our internal operations. Homes.com does well when our customers do well. Data science reveals the actions we can take to deliver the highest quality product for our customers. For example, we are leveraging machine learning algorithms to gauge and predict a customer’s likelihood to cancel a product subscription. These algorithms highlight which factors are contributing to a customer’s likelihood to cancel weeks in advance of the actual cancellation so we can intervene appropriately. Using an algorithm to prioritize thousands of customers allows our teams to have more meaningful conversations with customers around issues such as aligning lead expectations or ensuring access to all the features of a customer’s account.
Data Science is a Team Sport
At Homes.com we embrace the fact that data science is all about simple, yet innovative and impactful data solutions. A simple app, email, or conversation can have an enormous impact when the data makes it clear how we can act to drive better outcomes for the company. We’ve spent countless hours over whiteboard sessions, emails, and testing to find what works and iterate on it quickly. The internal teams of Homes.com–Sales, Search, Finance, Product, Business Development, and others — have helped shape our data science mission, not to mention the wealth of support from individuals across Dominion Enterprises that have helped shape ideas, test prototypes, and give feedback. It’s been said that Data Science is a team sport and I can’t think of a better team than Homes.com and Dominion Enterprises to continue driving innovative data science solutions.