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Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better Results Hardcover – February 8, 2010

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Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better Results + Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning + Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1ST edition (February 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422177696
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422177693
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Harvard Business School Press, Davenport in particular, has produced some excellent books on competitive analytics and the like, with good case studies…” - ZD Net

About the Author

Thomas H. Davenport is the President’s Distinguished Chair at Babson College, a research fellow at the MIT Center for Digital Business, and the author, coauthor, or editor of thirteen books. Jeanne G. Harris is Executive Research Fellow and a senior executive at Accenture’s Institute for High Performance in Chicago. Robert Morison has been leading business research in professional services firms for over twenty years and is a coauthor of Workforce Crisis.

Customer Reviews

Its a good book for understanding the theoretical concepts of data analytics with DELTA.
I read it as part of my Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP) certification and I would highly recommend it for this exam or generally.
Amazon Customer
The book offers a comprehensive discussion of the strategies, organization structure and execution implications of analytics in the enterprise.
Mark P. McDonald

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

190 of 215 people found the following review helpful By Dr George Chua on June 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book contains some occasional flashes of brilliance, like Figure 1-1 which succinctly summarizes the key questions addressed by analytics. The rest of the book is padded with pointless, meandering and buzzwords-laden prose. Case in point:

"Stage 5 organizations develop a robust information management environment that provides an enterprise wide set of systems, applications, and governance processes. They begin by eliminating legacy systems and old spaghetti code and press forward to eliminate silos of information like data marts and spreadsheet marts. They hunt for pockets of standalone analytic applications and either migrate them to centralized analytic applications or shut them down."

The entire book actually reads like that.

As an applied statistician and an avid reader of business books, I cannot - for the life of me - imagine why people will want to write a book like this. What is the target reader of such a book? Technical professionals like myself will find the book absolutely useless to guide analytical projects. Business professionals will be confused and put off by all the buzzwords.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By James Taylor on January 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I received a pre-release copy of Tom Davenport' new book Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better Results. The book is a follow-on to Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning and is a shorter, pithier book than its predecessor. Once again Tom collaborates with Jeanne Harris and this time Robert Morison of the Concours group. Where the previous book focused on so-called analytic competitors, this is about "analytics for the rest of us". It is a very readable book with some good practical advice that does not require the remaking of your company in a new image. It is also a quick read, it is only 180 pages or so, which should help get more people to read it.

And I hope people do read it. As Tom says "The unexamined decision isn't worth making" and too many companies and organizations are making unexamined decisions, failing to apply data they have about what works and what does not, making the same mistakes over and making dumb decisions. Like Tom I think it is time for this to stop and this book will tell you how.

The book's focus is broad, covering how analytics can address key questions of information and insight in each of the past, present, future - reporting, alerts and forecasting give information in the past, present and future while modeling, recommendations and predictions/optimization do the same for insight.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mark P. McDonald VINE VOICE on January 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Analytics is a hot topic and executives looking to get value from business intelligence. This book discusses how they do that. I recommend this book as perhaps THE book for people looking to establish and sustain an ability to use information in decision-making and process execution.

There is a sweet spot for business books between the illustration of a business idea and a discussion of its practical implementation. Business books that are too high level offer great ideas that appear realistic only to angels. Too low of a level and it's a technical manual that makes the idea seem mundane. I mention this because Analytics at Work rests firmly in the sweet spot between these extremes.

Davenport, Harris and Morison have taken ideas originally expressed in Competing on Analytics and taken them to the next level - reality. If competing on analytics describes the characteristics of an `analytic competitor' and their principles, then this book moves from principle to practice discussing issues from data management, through to changes in corporate structure and culture. The book is comprehensive without being a compendium. It is clearly written to provide a guide that helps you apply analytics to your situation without being a set of instructions that are applicable to few people.


The book has frequent and recognizable examples of executives and applications of analytics. These examples illustrate the author's points without appearing contrived. The examples and case studies are a real strength particularly as they come from companies with different levels of analytic intensity. This gives the reader the ability to see how analytics comes in many sizes and fits different situations.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Erik Gfesser VINE VOICE on January 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well composed follow-up by the writers of "Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning" and Robert Morison, coauthor of "Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills and Talent". While the previous effort by Davenport and Harris focused on the use of analytics for competitive strategy, this book focuses on deploying analytics in day-to-day operations. Use of the "five stages of analytical competition", which describes the analytics phases through which firms pass as their level of maturity increases from "analytically impaired" or "flying blind" to "analytical competitors" or "enterprise-wide, big results, sustainable advantage", continues here, but is now superimposed by what the authors deem the "DELTA" success factors - accessible, high-quality "Data", "Enterprise" orientation, analytical "Leadership", strategic "Targets", and "Analysts" - that are associated with the transition of firms from one level of competitive strategy to the next. The authors further this presentation of the analytical DELTA by discussing the embedding of analytics in business processes, the building of an analytical culture, the continual reviewing of analytical approaches, and meeting challenges along the way.

According to research conducted by the authors, 40% of major business decisions are not based on facts, but on the manager's gut. As the authors point out, "sometimes intuitive and experience-based decisions work out well, but often they either go astray or end in disaster: executives pursue mergers and acquisitions to palliate their egos, neglecting the sober considerations that create real value; banks make credit and risk decisions based on unexamined assumptions about always-rising asset values; governments rely on sparse intelligence before deciding whether to wage war.
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