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How successful companies approach data analytics

Last month, MIT Sloan Management Review and SAS published `The 2016 Data & Analytics Report’ . The main finding? Although analytics has gone mainstream, it’s still not a mainstream practice. Companies that are successful in harnessing big data, however, seem to share a set of common practices. Read on to find out which ones!


Under the title ‘Beyond the Hype: The Hard Work Behind Analytics Success’[1], the report confirms our assessment here at boobook. Analytics is either still in its infancy, or companies are in the process of executing strategies to tackle what they hope to achieve with analytics. 

The goal of analytics strategy

The typical goal of an analytics strategy is to leverage the power of analytics to improve decision-making over a wide range of activities — from customer segmentation, pricing, identifying new markets, managing supply chain risk, fraud detection and creating efficiencies to improving operational effectiveness. 

Successful strategies

According to the report, companies that successfully harness big data opportunities show some important similarities:

  • Their analytics strategy is closely aligned with the overall business strategy.
  • Their strategy addresses data management capabilities and ICT infrastructure, analytics skills development and the required analytics culture. At boobook, we call this the ‘tools, skills and culture’ of analytics.
  • They have a senior management team that actively supports and uses analytics.
  • Their business approach blends analytics with intuition in decision-making, and involves analytics that go beyond optimising existing business to explore new ideas and solutions as well.

The ‘analytics adaptation curve’

The MIT/SAS report classifies companies as ‘analytical innovators’, ‘analytical practitioners’ or ‘analytically-challenged’. A company’s place on the ‘analytics adaptation curve’ is determined by the mix of its business culture, focus, data quality, talent and complexity.

Most of our clients at boobook can be considered analytical practitioners: they work hard to become more data-driven and are operational rather than strategic in their application of analytics. Their goal is to obtain the right amount of high-quality data to support their decision-making. They use analytics to understand why things happen and have started looking for predictive applications.

Moving past the hype

A lot of people we talk to are surprised about how abundant and varied their company’s data already is. The real challenge, however, is to make that data usable — i.e. accurate, timely, complete, accessible, reliable, consistent, relevant and detailed — and to improve managers’ ability to make valuable use of it. That’s where boobook comes in. We can help our clients move past the big data hype and discover more of the wisdom in both their own and third-party data.

Curious to see what we can do for you? Drop us a line!


[1]S. Ransbotham, D. Kiron, and P.K. Prentice, “Beyond the Hype: The Hard Work Behind Analytics Success,” MIT Sloan Management Review, March 2016.

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