The Value of Business Analytics: A book review by Bob Morris

The Value of Business Analytics: Identifying the Path to Profitability
Evan Stubbs
John Wiley & Sons (2011)

How and why the success of selling the value of analytics depends on four key activities

Although business analytics can probably be traced back at least to Frederick Winslow Taylor’s initiatives in the early-19th century, most of what I know about the subject was provided by Tom Davenport, notably in Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning (2007), co-authored with Jeanne Harris, and Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better Results (2010), co-authored with Harris and Robert Morison. Curiously, Evan Stubbs makes only a brief reference to Davenport and Harris (on Page 6) and provides no bibliography.

That said, I think Stubbs has brilliantly explained in this book what he has learned about how to achieve buy-in throughout an enterprise for the value of analytics by focusing on four separate and related (if not interdependent) areas: defining the value, communicating the value, committing to the execution of business analytics initiatives, and measuring success of those initiatives. Following an uncommonly substantial introductory chapter, Stubbs explains (in the remaining seven chapters, 1-7) HOW to achieve these strategic objectives:

o  Understand business analytics from four perspectives (traditional, external, internal, and customer)
o  Foster innovation
o  Establish analytical platform
o  Sustain deliverable value through renewable return
o  Understand, recognize, and meet the challenges of tactical delivery of business analytics
o  Define the real value of business analytics
o  Communicate the value proposition on the “path to persuasion” (and profitability)
o  Create the execution plan
o  Deliver value
o  Establish the measurement framework
o  Deliver the measurement framework

Then in the final chapter, “Bringing It All Together,” Stubbs briefly reviews the scope of his book’s material, then concludes with a hypothetical example (whose details are best revealed within the narrative, in context), one that “blends a variety of case studies into a single narrative, highlighting the individual successes experienced by different teams” within a single framework.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out the aforementioned books by Davenport and Harris as well as Gert H. N. Laursen and Jesper Thorlund’s Business Analytics for Managers: Taking Business Intelligence Beyond Reporting. Also, Jean-Paul Isson  and Jesse Harriott’s Advanced Business Analytics: Creating Business Value from Your Data, to be published by John Wiley & Sons (October, 2012).

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