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Review: The Value of Business Analytics—Evan Stubbs

Joan Dobbie
September 13, 2011

Businesses today have access to vast amounts of information about their customers, suppliers, competitors and their own operations. As the information explosion continues, the volume and type of information available is increasing exponentially.

Smart businesses recognise the potential competitive advantage this provides and are searching for ways to exploit their information assets. Business analytics has the potential to help businesses identify sources of competitive advantage in their information assets and can be a key enabler of innovation and growth.

In his new book The Value of Business Analytics: Identifying the Path to Profitability, Evan Stubbs defines analytics as “any data driven process that provides insight”. Analytics includes, reporting, trending, segmentation, and predictive modelling. Stubbs defines business analytics as “leveraging all forms of analytics to achieve business outcomes”. Business analytics is focused on delivering relevant, valuable insights that can be acted on to deliver real value to the business.

The first two chapters of the book explore the strategic importance of business analytics and Stubbs draws on his vast experience in this area to clearly explain the value proposition for business analytics.

The book then turns to the tactical implementation of business analytics, beginning with a discussion of the challenges. In this section, Stubbs draws on his experience to provide insight into the reasons why so many business analytics initiatives don’t succeed. The key message is that finding ‘interesting’ insights in the data isn’t enough in today’s competitive world.

Business analytics must identify valuable, relevant insights. To succeed it is critical to clearly define, communicate and prove the value delivered from investments in business analytics.

The remainder of the book focuses on a simple, but powerful, four step process for defining, communicating, delivering and measuring the value of business analytics. These four chapters take you through the four step process in detail. Each chapter discusses the importance of the process steps; clearly describing the what, why and who. This section of the book is crammed full of practical advice on how to succeed. Common issues and pitfalls are highlighted and solutions discussed. The ‘In a Nutshell’ sections describe the minimum things you need to do and checklists of the key considerations.

Most books on this topic are written for information management specialists and provide little insight for managers needing practical advice. This book is written for managers and provides an integrated framework for establishing a successful business analytics capability in your organisation.

Project managers involved in business analytics projects will find the book valuable both for the strategic context it provides and for the practical advice on how to succeed.

The Value of Business Analytics: Identifying the Path to Profitability
By Evan Stubbs
RRP US$49.95
Published by Wiley & Sons (purchase at the SAS Bookstore)

Read an extract of the book on Communicating project value.

Joan Dobbie
Joan Dobbie is a highly experienced program and organisation change manager with a passion for helping organisations realise their vision. As the founder of Beyond Strategy Consulting, she works with clients to transform their business by turning vision into practical strategies, successfully executing strategic change and producing outstanding results. Prior to starting Beyond Strategy Consulting, she held senior global and Australian roles at EDS (now HP) where she led a number of major organisational transformations.
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