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Description: HBR article for discussion that presents the competitive advantage related to appropriate use of business analytics.  Analytics competitors use sophisticated data-collection technology and analysis to wring every last drop of value from every available business processes. With analytics, one discerns not only what the customers want but also how much they’re willing to pay and what keeps them loyal. One must look beyond compensation costs to calculate the respective workforce’s exact contribution to an organization’s bottom line.  And it isn’t enough for one to just track existing inventories; it is essential, as indicated here, the importance to also predict and prevent future inventory problems.  The article takes the position that this use for IT is critical to organizational health and success.

Source: Thomas H. Davenport

Date: 2005


Discussion Questions:

  1. How can effective use of business analytics be a competitive tool and weapon?
  2. What does business analytics require?

a.    Resources to be spent on CRM and/or ERP systems

b.    Data to be presented in standard formats

c.    Data be integrated effectively

d.    Easy accessibility

e.    Warehouse storage

3.    When is business analytics most effective?

a.    Combined under one leadership team

b.    Various technologies are utilized throughout, commonality is not important

c.    Data sharing is not important

d.    Inconsistent data reporting formats are common

4.    How can a company establish an analytics culture?

a.    initiatives that support the overarching competitive strategy

b.    instilling companywide respect for measuring, testing, evaluating quantitative evidence

c.    rewarding employees for making decision on hard facts

d.    hiring of employees with proven analytic abilities

e.    none of the above

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