Nowadays 15 thousand terabytes* of information are generated daily. The adage that “information is power” seems less valid as time goes by; since data by itself does not make decisions. To take effective and even better decisions in all business you need to know how to analyze, manage and manipulate the data to reach the results you need.
SOMETIMES MAKING A GOOD DECISION CAN BE LIKE FINDING A NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK.
Analytical Intelligence – or advanced analytics – is an exhaustive way of managing the information to define strategies and take optimal decisions. It is based on analytical tools that allow you to run statistical analysis, either quantitative or qualitative; as well as different types of predictive, descriptive and optimization models. The purpose of this is to optimize the strategies and decisions in an organization. There is not a specific line that divides what could be considered as traditional analysis and advanced analytics; however, the use of statistical tools, data mining, stochastic processes and mathematical algorithms, will lead to decisions based on advanced analytics.
Different authors suggest three specific functions of advanced analytics:
– Descriptive analysis: In this kind of analyses the objective is to organize the information either through segmentation, categorization, or data mining techniques.
– Prediction analysis: Identify trends, patterns and relationships in the data in order to understand the causes and anticipate what will happen.
– Optimization analysis: Aid decision making to choose the best possible options from hundreds of available possibilities.
Different industries base their competitive advantage on advanced analytics, and they range from consumer products industry, retail, e-commerce, transportation services, telecommunications, to financial services and sports team management among others. Some of the companies currently using these tools are: Procter & Gamble, CEMEX, as well as various retail stores such as JCPenny and Wal-Mart; sports teams like The Boston’s Red Sox and The Athletics from Oakland are also known to apply advance analytics.
Advanced analytics create an opportunity for companies to build a sustainable competitive advantage based on differentiation that allows them to improve performance over the competition. Through these exhaustive data analyses, a company could offer its clients the products they require or develop a marketing program to get the best results with the proper budget. It can also be used to optimize prices based on the expected utility, improve inventory control, or evaluate a potential store or distribution center location, among many others.
* 1 terabyte = 1000 gigabytes, storage unit.
Philpott, Sara. Advanced analytics: Unlocking the power of insight. April 2010. http://www.ibm.com/us/en/.
Thomas Davenport y Jeanne Harris. Competing on analytics: Inteligencia competitiva para ganar. (México: Alfaomega, 2009).
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