Analytics functions – not innovative enough

With great interest I am reading “Win With Advanced Business Analytics” by Jean Paul Isson and Jesse S. Harriot.

I find the following quote very illustrative for the difficulties in making analytics as much part of the business as it should be:

“…when we interviewed more than 100 companies regarding their business analytics practices for this book, about 85% described their analytical techniques as innovative; however, only 15% described their business analytics function as “innovative” in meeting the needs of the business

What matters in the end is the contribution the analytics function makes to the business. The above quote suggests that stakeholder needs are secondary to analytical excellence. I believe this to be true in many cases, and I believe this is a reason that analysts are to reactive (instead of proactive) in highlighting relevant insights.

To be truly relevant, an analytics function needs to be ahead of business. Analytical techniques is an important ingredient, but understanding the business, and where the business is heading, is even more important. So if you set up an analytics function with a number of highly skilled “data scientists” with no deep understanding of the business, will they make a difference? Maybe some, but more likely they will end up going to conferences combined with putting together some periodical standard reports.

Business knowledge and a small set of data, will make any analytical function more relevant than “big data” and analytical excellence combined with a lack of curiosity and understanding of the business.

Andreas Franson, andreas[@]internetintelligence.se, +46 733 56 41 51

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