Analytics & Organizational Culture

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Thomas H. Davenport
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Harnessing Quant Power

A new book by Thomas H. Davenport and Jinho Kim says that if companies can’t turn all the data they’re swimming in into better decision making through quantitative analytics, they’re “probably creating suboptimal performance.” The book, Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics, is geared toward executives who are not analytics experts but whose jobs require them to deal with those who have such expertise, both inside and outside their organizations.

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Elevating Data, Analytics to the C-Suite

The former senior vice president of vendor analytics at Bank of America is now chief analytics officer at Bank of America Merchant Services. While Merchant Services is technically a separate business, Douglas Hague’s ascension to the C-suite is notable in that it’s one of the first analytics roles to report directly to the CEO at Bank of America Merchant Services. That has some implications for strategy and for long-term planning.

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Are Algorithms Influencing Your Business?

The growing importance of algorithms to business and society is a little discussed feature of our increasingly digital world. These algorithms are the underpinnings of NSA surveillance, online search engines, corporate security, modern matchmaking and other activities in both the private and public sector. They can be a source of competitive advantage (think Google), play an operational role or drive marketing. Just what are algorithms, how are they used, and what happens when influential algorithms go wrong?

Image credit: LinkedIn Corporation

The Relevance of Data: Going Behind The Scenes at LinkedIn

It is an understatement to say LinkedIn is growing like a weed. With 238 million members in over 200 countries, 2.8 million active company profiles, and 1 million professionally oriented groups, LinkedIn has become the world’s largest professional networking site.

Deepak Agarwal, LinkedIn’s director of relevance science, explains how his company uses data and analytics to sustain this growth.

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How eBay Uses Data and Analytics to Get Closer to Its (Massive) Customer Base

You can find just about anything on eBay: A vintage BMW, a Lear jet, a half-million-dollar yacht. From all that activity stems a lot of data and, eventually, information. In conversation with MIT Sloan Management Review contributing editor Renee Boucher Ferguson, Neel Sundaresan, senior director of research at eBay, discusses how eBay uses data and analytics at every level of the company to continuously evolve eBay’s numerous sites and services for buyers and sellers.

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How Analytics Can Transform Business Models

There are 52 million Latinos in the United States, with $1.5 trillion of purchasing power.

Entravision Communications Corporation a Spanish-language media company, reaches about 96% of that U.S. Latino audience through its numerous television and radio stations and digital platforms. It uses that extraordinary reach to provide media solutions to marketers interested in tapping into the Latino consumer market.

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Lessons From Analytical Innovators

In a webinar recorded in March 2013, the speakers present findings from the recent global study they co-authored, “From Value to Vision: Reimagining the Possible with Data Analytics.” In their study, they identified leaders of the analytics revolution they call “Analytical Innovators.” These companies share three key characteristics: a widely shared belief that data is a core asset; more effective use of more data for faster results; and support for analytics by senior managers shift power and resources to those who make data-driven decisions.

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Analytics and Intuition: Finding Equilibrium

Just before the New Year, New York Times writer Steve Lohr wrote a blog, Big Data is Great. But So Is Intuition, which addresses a question we here at MIT Sloan Management Review have been researching for the past year: With the growing potential of data and analytics, where is the shifting line between analytics and intuition?

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From Value to Vision: Reimagining the Possible with Data Analytics

Based on a global executive survey with 2,500+ respondents and interviews with more than two dozen executives and academics, MIT Sloan Management Review and SAS Institute Inc. report on the distinctive characteristics and habits of companies that are very effective at using analytics to compete and innovate. This report offers an in-depth analysis of Analytical Innovators, the early leaders in the analytics revolution that is changing how many companies are managed.

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Organizational Alignment is Key to Big Data Success

Fortune 500 companies are rushing to make big data investments. Who is leading this charge? What are they doing? What are best practices and which practices should be avoided? A recent survey of C-level and function heads from Fortune 500 companies offers a unique glimpse into how the captains of industry are thinking about big data and how their companies are changing because of new insights gleaned from big data analyses.

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Data Analytics and the Information Transfer Gap

Most companies seem to be better at collecting data than using what they collect to create value. As companies increase the amount and variety of data they collect, the gap between data collection and insight generation may increase. This blogpost highlights several hurdles that need to be overcome to bridge this gap.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user KJGarbutt.
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Finding Value in the Information Explosion

Today’s companies process more than 60 terabytes of information annually, about 1,000 times more than a decade ago. But how well are companies managing the data and capitalizing on the opportunities it presents?

To answer these questions, seven IT research centers studied data-related activities at 26 corporations and large nonprofit organizations. The research shows that while the IT unit is competent at storing and protecting data, it cannot make decisions that turn data into business value.

Image courtesy of Flickr user graysky.

All Fired Up in Massachusetts: The State’s New Wave of Big Data Companies

The state of Massachusetts is a major U.S. center of big data, says Stephen O’Leary, an M&A advisor with Aeris Partners and executive committee member of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council. It’s only poised to get hotter.

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Are You Ready to Reengineer Your Decision Making?

There has been enormous progress in embedding the use of analytics at lower levels of companies. But according to Thomas H. Davenport, professor at Babson College and one of the best-known thinkers about analytics and business intelligence, the upper levels of companies haven’t kept up.

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