The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Scarce questions and analytics

question and analytics.GIFBusiness analytics is about using the data available to manage performance and make decisions. It is about asking questions to get answers. As we have more powerful tools, analytics should allow us to ask questions we’ve never thought of asking before. We can hypothesize about issues and results.


Even the type of questions we ask may change. Which is more important knowing the buying behavior of our customers or knowing more about the behavior of those who are not current customers? Is it better to know about why people make decisions to buy our product or about understanding why people were entering a decision making situation?


These kinds of questions are not exactly new, but there is now more data and powerful tools to attack them then have ever existed before. With social techniques we also have new perspectives to add to the analysis.


Most of the analytics work in the past was focused on hindsight, performing analysis on historical data. Much of the real-time analytics push discussed currently is about providing insight into decisions that need to be made now. The real opportunity is in the area of foresight, with modeling and simulation techniques to predict and shape the future we want to have. These are all analytic areas that are rapidly changing.


I’ve mentioned in the past that in a world of abundant data having more data is not all that exciting -- on the other hand having the attention of personnel with the right questions will always be scarce and powerful.


Now is the time for organizations to make a choice to develop greater depth and breadth of analytic capabilities, figuring out what works and blazing a trail toward a more agile future.

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