Rising to the Analytics Challenge

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Eight Essentials of Business Analytics

Find out what's going on inside market-leading companies that sets them apart.

We live in a world where business executives want to see an almost instantaneous return on their business investment. The challenge that creates from the perspective of analytics applications is that these applications really represent an investment in a journey that should transform the way the business operates.

Alas, that takes time to play out, which means a business executive can easily get frustrated or, more likely, simply lose focus on the end goal. To mitigate that issue, Deepak Advani, IBM vice president for predictive analytics, says it's critically important for organizations to focus their initial analytics efforts on a small number of projects that have a material impact on the business.

Once the business appreciates the business outcome derived from those projects, then a discussion about how analytics can be used to re-engineer an organization's processes can begin in earnest, says Advani.

The immediate challenge facing organizations, however, is a shortage of people schooled in how to use analytics software. IBM has been trying to help address that issue by helping universities develop curriculums around the use of analytics in business, the most recent of which is an alliance with Northwestern University.


But even as IBM moves to increase the pool of analysts available, it's clear that it may take years for there to be enough people with the skills required to leverage analytics in ways that truly transform a business.

In the meantime, Advani says that those people with the skills should focus on projects that improve a company's bottom line, such as identifying fraud, in the hopes that the money that drops to a company's bottom line as a result of those projects gets reinvested in more analytics applications that ultimately serve to improve the return on investment in IT.

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