Data Project Offers New Opportunity to Business
Larry Hachey’s start-up business, Canlease, was formed with the intention of making it easier for small businesses, across Canada, to finance equipment or services, using online tools. When he learned of Economic Development Greater Saint John’s, Smart & Connected Data Project, he saw an opportunity further streamline the process of lease applications and approvals.
“As a past member of the Enterprise Saint John Board of Directors, I certainly felt that the Smart & Connected Data Project was a game changer for local Saint John area business. I feel a little like that old Gillette commercial, where the CEO says into the camera” I liked the product so much, I bought the company”. In this case I liked the project so much that I had to be part of it myself. I volunteered my new start-up company as part of the pilot project,” says Hachey.
The biggest problem facing Hachey’s start-up was the time and labour it took to process applications and match clients with the right financing company. According to Hachey, even when the match was a good one, the numbers were disappointing when it came to successful and finished deals.
“Anything that is manually intensive has to be married with either a high sticker price or low wage production. Our customers need inexpensive capital and we want our employees to be paid well. Matching clients to available sources of capital and then having those clients decide not to proceed is not productive or rewarding for either party. Our data showed that 70% of the matches were correct and that only 75% of the approved matches completed the transaction. But, what if we could make the match quick, easy and at a low cost? That is where the gold is!”
Working with EDGSJ and T4G, a data scientist analyzed years of anonymized customer behavioral data that Hachey had collected. He used data from his existing business venture and rolled it into his new venture. The goal was to identify factors leading to incomplete transactions and to develop an algorithm to better predict matches and successful transactions.
“It took years to collect the data, but just days for data analysts to glean insights. The model developed is sound and ready to implement. The insights we found means Larry can now make an informed decision about changing up his intake process for customers and make it easier for staff and clients,” says EDGSJ’s Smart and Connected Data Project Manager, Mirko Crevatin.
Hachey recently launched the new online model at Canlease.net and is looking forward to seeing how it will drive results for his company.
“In working with EDGSJ and T4G, we were able to discover that our raw data contained enough information to formulate algorithms that we can use to grow our business. It has certainly opened my eyes to the power of data for mining commercial opportunities.”
Hachey also has some advice for businesses that may be sitting on the fence when it comes to good data collection data and analytics.
“First, you need a method to collect data. This is the first best investment you can make. Many of the Fortune 500 companies of today are built on data collection and selling it back to you. Why not collect some of your own? The second-best investment you can make is to find a way to use that data to make your customer offering more appealing. Enterprise Saint John’s project was a great resource for that.”
Do you have a business problem you’d like to solve? Learn more about Economic Development Greater Saint John’s Smart & Connected Data Project by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.