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The New World of Enterprise Analytics: Optimize Performance, Process, and Decisions Through Big Data

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Analytics pioneer Tom Davenport introduces his book, which brings together the latest techniques, best practices, and research on analytics in a single primer for maximizing the value of enterprise data.
This chapter is from the book

The Rise of Analytics

Analytics aren’t new—I’ve found references to corporate analytical groups as far back as 1954—but they seem to be more important to business and organizational life than ever before. Analytical approaches to decision-making and management are on the rise because of several factors:

  • The dramatic increase in the amounts of data to analyze from various business information systems
  • Powerful and inexpensive computers and software that can analyze all this data
  • The movement of quantitatively trained managers into positions of responsibility within organizations
  • The need to differentiate products and offers, optimize prices and inventories, and understand what drives various aspects of business performance

As a result, many factors indicate that analytical initiatives, jobs, and organizations are taking off around the world. According to LinkedIn data, for example, the number of people starting analytics or data scientist jobs increased tenfold from 1990 to 2010. Every major consulting firm has developed an analytics practice. According to Google Trends, the number of searches using the term “analytics” increased more than twenty-fold between 2005 and 2012; searches for the term “big data” (defined in a moment) showed an even more dramatic rise beginning in 2010. The current era has been described as the “Age of Analytics,” the “Age of Algorithms,” and the “Money-ball Era,” after the book and movie about the application of analytics to professional baseball.

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