Creating value through advanced analytics

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It’s easy for tech-savvy executives to get excited about Big Data and advanced analytics these days. Newly available tools allow companies to do things they couldn’t do before, like recommending specific products to online buyers or mining workers’ compensation claims data to recommend better treatment options for injured employees. But whiz-bang capabilities don’t create real value unless an organization incorporates these new techniques into its day-to-day operations.

What does that mean in practice? The best way to understand any company’s operations is to view them as a series of decisions. People in organizations make thousands of decisions every day. The decisions range from big, one-off strategic choices (such as where to locate the next multibillion-dollar plant) to everyday frontline decisions that add up to a lot of value over time (such as whether to suggest another purchase to a customer). In between those extremes are all the decisions that marketers, finance people, operations specialists and so on must make as they carry out their jobs week in and week out.

We know from extensive research that decisions matter—a lot. Companies that make better decisions, make them faster and execute them more effectively than rivals nearly always turn in better financial performance. Not surprisingly, companies that employ advanced analytics to improve decision making and execution have the results to show for it. Decisions are where advanced analytics can add real value, quickly.

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