Tipping Points

November 18, 2009
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The term “business analytics” is on everyone’s lips. It’s like when you buy a new car, suddenly you see that same car everywhere where previously you never noticed it on the road. That’s how I see business analytics, once the domain of math gurus, it is now talked about by all. Its even being referred to as a tipping point for our customers, something which can dramatically change their businesses.

But what does business analytics mean? Traditionally, it meant complex mathematical algorithms, designed to simulate real world scenarios, and generally visualised as a Star Trek style dashboard where management can control the business with the click of a mouse.

I have a slightly different view. I think it means the way the whole of the business is run, how all the business units come together to decide on their offers. and how they combine strategic and operational level data, with the endgame being predictive modeling and the ability to evaluate what-if scenarios to make the best investments in ever changing markets.

The challenge to reaching this endgame is organisational, not technological. How can we be nimble and self-directing while, at the same time, being integrated and



The term “business analytics” is on everyone’s lips. It’s like when you buy a new car, suddenly you see that same car everywhere where previously you never noticed it on the road. That’s how I see business analytics, once the domain of math gurus, it is now talked about by all. Its even being referred to as a tipping point for our customers, something which can dramatically change their businesses.

But what does business analytics mean? Traditionally, it meant complex mathematical algorithms, designed to simulate real world scenarios, and generally visualised as a Star Trek style dashboard where management can control the business with the click of a mouse.

I have a slightly different view. I think it means the way the whole of the business is run, how all the business units come together to decide on their offers. and how they combine strategic and operational level data, with the endgame being predictive modeling and the ability to evaluate what-if scenarios to make the best investments in ever changing markets.

The challenge to reaching this endgame is organisational, not technological. How can we be nimble and self-directing while, at the same time, being integrated and working with a whole view of the business? We are all frightened of the beaurocracy that can creep in when everything is a matrix, but if we can enable integration whilst keeping complexity at bay there will be powerful competitive advantages.

This is why all our key partners are investing heavily in business analytics. They know if they can help customers solve these issues there is a pot of gold for all involved. IBM Global Business Services recently announced a new global Business Analytics & Optimisation Practice and have also set up analytic centres in China, Japan and the US. They have 4,000 people all dedicated to business analytics, helping enable their customers to discover predictive insights and turn them into operational reality.

Accenture and Capgemini are also focusing in on how they can solve this problem for customers. Accenture surveyed the marketplace in the USA and found that two-thirds of large U.S. companies believe they need to improve their analytical capabilities and only half believe they are spending enough on business analytics. “These findings show that business analytics prowess will be a high priority in the boardroom in 2009 and beyond,” said Royce Bell, chief executive officer of Accenture Information Management Services. “While executives understand that companies with enterprise-wide business analytics have an advantage over those still relying on nebulous sources to make decisions, they face institutional challenges to reforming their processes across the board. Leading organizations are moving from a siloed approach to more inclusive information management programs that work across the entire company.”

Soon business analytics will be common and well understood, just as CRM and the Internet are today. We will wonder how we ever survived without it. This is great for Teradata, as this has been our focus since inception. The challenge for Teradata is to partner effectively with the companies who are focusing on this area. Do you think Teradata can partner to deliver this vision to customers?

Tracy Gumm
Program Manager