I finally got around to reading Analytics at Work, the new book from Competing on Analytics authors Tom Davenport and Jeanne Harris. It was perfect for spring break, informative but an easy read. The timing of another reputable treatise on the use of scientific and analytic methods for business decision making couldn't be better, reinforcement of MIT's Andrew McAfee's recent assertion that “when you have this unbelievable amount of horsepower and a mass of data to apply it to, you can be a lot more scientific about things. You can be a lot more rigorous in your analysis. You can generate and test hypotheses. You can run experiments. You can adopt a much more scientific mindset.”
The point of departure for Analytics at Work is a domain space matrix generated by the cross-product of dimensions time frame and innovation. The values of time frame are past, present and future, while the levels of innovation are information (traditional BI) and insight (analytics). Analytics is thus concerned with the insight row of the 2x3 matrix, where insight past addresses how and why things happened; insight present asks what's the next best action; and insight future has to do with what's the best/worst that can happen?
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