Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

Analytics: The new path to value

Earlier this month the IBM Institute for Business Value, in conjunction with the MIT Sloan Management Review, released its latest survey on how companies are applying (and benefiting from) information and analytics:  Analytics:  The new path to value.  

There are two pieces that make this latest study - which involved surveying nearly 3,000 executives, managers and analysts - exceptional.  The first is the findings that once again validate that organizations that manage their information and apply analytics outpace their peers (more on this below).

The second piece, and the one that in my mind that really delivers an enormous amount of value, is that the report lays out a new 5-point methodology for how leaders can successfully make analytics pay off, including detailed, multi-page descriptions for each of the 5 recommendations of the methodology.

These five recommendations are:
1.        Focus on the biggest and highest value opportunities
2.        Within each opportunity, start with questions, not data
3.        Embed insights to drive actions and deliver value
4.        Keep existing capabilities while adding new ones
5.        Use an information agenda to plan for the future

I'm not going to be able to do justice to the explanation, proof points, case studies and practical experience related in the study, so instead am going to recommend once again that you go take a look at the full report. You can also see Fred Balboni, Global Leader Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM Global Services, speak about the survey results in this video from the recent IBM Smarter Industries Symposium (full list of sessions).

In terms of what the study revealed about the way in which successful organizations are using these capabilities to distance themselves from their competitors, here are some highlights:

Top performers approach business operations differently from their peers. Specifically, they put analytics to use in the widest possible range of decisions, large and small. They were twice as likely to use analytics to guide future strategies, and twice as likely to use insights to guide day-to-day operations (see Figure 3). They make decisions based on rigorous analysis at more than double the rate of lower performers. The correlation between performance and analytics-driven management has important implications to organizations whether they are seeking growth, efficiency or competitive differentiation.