Fred Balboni gave the Business Analytics and Optimization keynote. You can get a “faster planet” without analytics, just by automating processes, but you need analytics for a “smarter planet”. Fred began by introducing the results from the IBM Institute for Business Value study. The new survey had three interesting results:
- The gap between analytic leaders and others is starting to grow
The number of people saying that analytics gives them an analytic advantage has grown by 57% year on year. Analytics is being seen increasingly as a point of competitive advantage. And those that report this tend to out perform their competitors. In the number of companies saying that they have been transformed by analytics is up 23% and experienced companies were up 66% (aspirational beginners were down).
In terms of usage, analytics in basic operations and finance are increasingly widely accepted (table stakes). Customer management, strategy and planning, HR is where there is a difference in usage between experienced and transformed organizations. But the usage rates are still low overall here so there is a lot of work yet to do.
- Competitive advantage requires mastery of three competencies
- Manage the data as a trusted platform
- Understand the data, analytic skills to generate insights
- Act on the data, not enough to know things must act on this knowledge
- Two distinct paths to analytic sophistication
- Collaborative path where focus is on working with multiple organizational units to string things together and make analytical decisions. These tend to be large programs however which is tricky in the current economic climate.
- Specialized path driven by a line of business focused on building a focused capability first.
Three steps are recommended:
- Know where you are, be honest
- Focus on improving your analytic competencies across information foundation, culture and analytic skills.
- Have a strategic plan, an information agenda
All good advice but, to my mind, still missing a strong focus on how (technically) to deploy analytic insight into operational systems and processes.