MIT on Intelligent Enterprise

Analytics: the New path to Value reports on what leading firms are doing with analytics. It offers five big recommendations. Whilst reasonable enough, they raise more questions than answers:

  1. Focus on the biggest and highest value opportunities – should be easy enough in most cases, though blind-spots are common .. e.g. if you don’t know how to destroy competitors, the option is not likely to feature in the identified opportunities.
  2. Within each opportunity, start with questions, not data – right, but what questions? Without a solid model of how the business works, key questions will get missed, e.g. many firms don’t know the scale or pattern of their customer losses, and of those that do, few know the reasons for those losses.
  3. Embed insights to drive actions and deliver value – it’s tricky if you haven’t identified the best opportunities or asked the right questions concering them┬áto find the insights, let alone embed them.
  4. Keep existing capabilities while adding new ones – fair enough, though as we are not so good at specifying exactly what a ‘capability’ is, we will find it hard to define what new ones to develop, what effort will be needed, or what benefit will result.
  5. Use an information agenda to plan for the future – not sure what an information agenda might be.

It would be helpful if such reports could specify potentially useful recommendations more clearly.

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