MAR 9, 2010 9:51pm ET

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Moving On With Analytics


I had a good chat today with Tom Davenport, the co-author (with Jeanne Harris) of Competing on Analytics, who's out with a new book. The follow-up, Analytics at Work (Harvard Business Press), adds researcher Robert Morison to the byline, and a more pragmatic approach to gaining analytic maturity.

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Comments (8)
hi jim - thanks again for a thought provoking piece that takes a more meta-perspective on a very intriguing issue - why don't the power of analytics have the impact that they should have?

- are the analytics powerful enough? - do analysts have the necessary data to have the impact that they should?

i would say that the answers to both of these questions is yes - a creative analyst can almost always find the tools and data to address various issues -

so this would appear to be a conundrum - we probably have more and better analytical professionals and resources than ever before, yet these powerful resources are not having the impact that they should be having -

well, what i've found is that there is an inverse relationship between the political nature of an organization and the likelihood of analytics having the impact that they can and should have -

and, unfortunately, there is a direct relationship between the size of an organization and its political nature - so - the larger the organization, the more political it is, and the less likely it is to allow analytics to truly inform decision-making for the long-term benefit of the organization -

this isn't cynicism, it's reality -

when i work with smaller organizations, research and analysis have remarkable impact (if they can find analytical resources that are willing to work with them within their budgets - but given today's economy, that is more often the case than before) -

so i don't think it's a question of getting better at analytics - (and who's going to say they don't want to be better at analytics?) - it's more a question of whether senior management is willing to allow analytics to inform their decision-making -

and this is a very subtle brick wall to tear down -

Posted by Charles P | Wednesday, March 10 2010 at 4:46PM ET
I purchased Competing on Analytics at a SAS class. I have worked as an Operations Research Analyst for almost twenty years at the federal nondefense agency referenced on page 51 as having one of the earliest applications of analytics. When I attended the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) Practice Conference shortly after its publication, there was a great deal of excitement about the book. INFORMS presently has a nontechnical magazine entitled Analytics. I have worked in analytics for twenty-five years. I am puzzled why a book on Competing on Analytics makes no reference to Operations Research Analysts and Management Scientists. We have been doing analytics long before it was titled such.
Posted by Robin R | Wednesday, March 10 2010 at 6:12PM ET
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