Analytics & Strategy

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Data Analytics Makes the Transition From Novelty to Commodity

Business is nearing a tipping point in which the use of data analytics is becoming routinely adopted. While widespread adoption of analytics will mean that it offers less competitive advantage to companies, it also means that the business environment overall will change. Information systems expert Sam Ransbotham identifies four key changes that businesses need to consider now.

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Crafting Health Care’s Future at Kaiser Permanente

Dr. Yan Chow is a director in the Innovation and Advanced Technology group at Kaiser Permanente. While a physician with over two decades of primary care clinical practice experience, Dr. Chow also has a keen interest in technology (he’s founded several technology startups). His areas of expertise: health care IT innovation, telehealth, big data and analytics. Here, he talks about innovation and the future of health care.

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A New, Analytics-Based Era of Banking Dawns at State Street

Change does not come easy to established institutions, particularly when they count their longevity in centuries rather than decades. Yet in the wake of the global financial crisis, State Street Bank has elected to revamp 200+ years (and counting) of banking practices in favor of a data-driven, analytics-based business model. In doing so, it created a new business, SSGX — and initiated significant cultural changes.

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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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Rent The Runway: Organizing Around Analytics

For the fashionista who lacks the budget to buy fabulous designer dresses, there’s a solution: Rent one.

Rent The Runway rents occasion dresses. The company caters to its fashion forward clientele through unique services, including on-call stylist advice and customer’s “style moment” photos, parsed by measurements.

These services are, in no small measure, what sets Rent The Runway apart from its small pool of competitors. They’re are also driven by data and analytics.

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Better Decisions with Smarter Data

Part of that gap between the pressure to be more data-driven in decision making, and a lack of useful data, says Grenoble University researcher Ali Fouladkar, can be explained by the fact that while data analysis has led to competitive advantage for some organizations, decision makers are often presented with noise-filled big data.

What they need instead is smart data.

The problem in getting to smart data in an era of big data is part technological and part training.

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Luminar Insights

Facing headwinds from a shifting media industry, executives at Spanish-language broadcasting company Entravision recognized the need to innovate their business model. To get there, they created Luminar, a big data insights division that utilizes about 2,000 external data points to deliver customized, transaction-based insights to marketers about Entravision’s Latino audience. The fastest-growing U.S. demographic, Latinos have amassed buying power worth more than a trillion dollars annually.

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Should You Outsource Analytics?

Outsourcing analytics activities can offer benefits, but it requires a carefully constructed relationship between the company and the business process organization (BPO). Customers must be careful not to lose their expertise or their core intellectual property. Research suggests that companies with superior analytics capabilities will approach outsourcing differently than companies that are analytically challenged.

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Turning Big Data Into Smart Data

Current thinking has big data and analytics turning companies into data-driven powerhouses. But just having data doesn’t make a company smarter; if companies don’t know how to use data well in the first place, it can actually prevent companies from making the transition to data-driven operations. Jeanne Ross, the director of MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research, says that companies can build cultures that encourage people, even low-level employees, to work well with data by using evidence-based management.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user Vermin Inc.
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Omnichannel Retailing and Data Analytics: Leveling the Playing Field

We’re in a new world of omnichannel retailing that includes physical, online and mobile channels. And those channels are blurring.

In a recent AllAnaltyics video and web chat, Analytics in the Age of Omnichannel Retailing, researchers Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Center for Digital Business, Yu Jeffrey Hu, associate professor at Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business, and Mohammad Rahman, associate professor at University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, discussed the challenges facing retailers.

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Big Data That’s Good for the Public

Facts: 900 million. Active sources: more than 100,000. Data sets: 30,000, with 200 million time series and 1.5 billion fact values.

Link all these data sources together and what do you get? Timely, if not crucial, contextual information about markets, trends, competitors, products and consumer opinions.

This is the promise of DOPA, a project funded under the umbrella of the European Union.

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A Process of Continuous Innovation: Centralizing Analytics at Caesars

Over the past several years, Caesars has undergone a reorganization, in part to centralize its analytics functions. It has sought to build a deeper understanding not only of customers, but also of operations — everything from food and beverage analytics to labor analytics. Ruben Sigala, chief analytics officer at Caesars, talks with MIT Sloan Management Review contributing editor Renee Boucher Ferguson about that process, some valuable lessons learned, and where innovation and intuition play a role.

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Big Data and Big Change Management: A Path Forward

MIT Sloan School of Management recently held a two-day executive education course, Big Data: Making Complex Things Simpler, designed to provide organizations with both an overview of big data and a few techniques to harness some of the illusive power of data. But in all the discussions that surfaced around the big issues from big data, the reality that many organizations grapple with is change management.

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Reimagining the Possible with Data Analytics? Some Answers to Your Questions

During our webinar, we described those characteristics that define each group, and what your organization can do to become more like Analytical Innovators — if you’re not there already (in a poll, 13% of audience members identified themselves as Analytical Innovators).

As the hour-long webinar came to a close, we found that there were far more questions than we had time to answer. And we also found that there were far too many intriguing questions to let them go unanswered.

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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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Location Analytics: Bringing Geography Back

Remember geography lessons in school, painstakingly memorizing the longest rivers, cultures of various regions, the state capitals? For most of us, those lessons are in the past. But in the world of big data analytics, geography is making a comeback.

The relatively new market of location analytics is expanding the uses of more traditional geographic information system (GIS) technology to include social, geographic, physical and emotional indicators that help organizations better predict trends

Image courtesy of the US Army.

Quick Wins Help Avoid Culture Obstacles on the Path to Value

“The biggest predictor of success…has been when there’s a strong business sponsor involved,” says Randy Bean, co-founder of NewVantage Partners. Broad-based organizational support usually follows when the business sees how analytics will improve the top and bottom line.
K. Ananth Krishnan is chief technology officer of Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.

The “Unstructured Information” Most Businesses Miss Out On

Businesses’ ability to process numbers in “well-behaved rows and columns” goes back 40 years, notes K. Ananth Krishnan, chief technology officer of Tata Consultancy Services, one of the largest companies in India. Figuring out how to mine and process the information in text, video, and audio is the new frontier.

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