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Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1422103326 ISBN-10: 1422103323 Edition: 1st

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Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning + Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die + Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave: Finding Opportunities in Huge Data Streams with Advanced Analytics
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (March 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422103323
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422103326
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[the] seminal work, Competing on Analytics, helped shape the evolution of the discipline of business analytics.” — Health Data Management

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

From the Back Cover

In a world where traditional bases of competitive advantage have largely evaporated, how do you separate your company's performance from the pack? Use analytics to make better decisions and extract maximum value from your business process.

In Competing on Analytics: the New Science of Winning,Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris argue that the frontier of using data has shifted dramatically. Leading companies are doing more than just collecting and storing information in large quantities. They’re now building their competitive strategies around data-driven insights that are, in turn, generating impressive business results. Their secret weapon? Analytics: sophisticated quantitative and statistical analysis and predictive modeling supported by data-savvy senior leaders and powerful information technology.

Why compete on analytics? At a time when companies in many industries offer similar products and use similar technology, distinctive business processes count among the last remaining points of differentiation. Many previous bases for competition—such as geographical advantage or protective regulation—have been eroded by globalization. Proprietary technologies are rapidly copied, and breakthrough innovations in products or services are increasingly difficult to achieve.

That leaves three things as the basis for competition: efficient and effective execution, smart decision making, and the ability to wring every last drop of value from business processes—all of which can be gained through sophisticated use of analytics.

Davenport and Harris show how exemplars—organizations as diverse as the Boston Red Sox, Netflix, Amazon.com, CEMEX, Capital One, Harrah’s Entertainment, Procter & Gamble, and Best Buy—are using new tools to trump rivals. Through analytics, these companies identify their most profitable customers, accelerate product innovation, optimize supply chains and pricing, and leverage the true drivers of financial performance.

A timely, much needed resource, Competing on Analytics promises to rewrite the rules of competition.


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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book as an introduction to analytics.
T. Dixon
Analytics is becoming a requirement in every industry as customers have choice and companies face increased competition.
Mark P. McDonald
You'll notice that I didn't discuss this book very much so far.
Donald Mitchell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 135 people found the following review helpful By Peter Lorenzi on June 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the glib, anecdotal book built around a basic, almost stereotypic Harvard Business Review five-level model, this one focusing on various levels of use of analytical methods, systems and processes. At the lowest level, there is almost nothing going on in terms of analytics and, at the highest level, analytics are systematic, widespread and strategic. You can figure the middle three levels. In my experience, there would be some use in providing a zero-level or even negative-level use of analytics, those firms operating in the "data free" zone. They would provide some humor and color, not just useful references.

As to the subtitle, "The new science of winning," to be clear, "competing" and "winning" are not synonymous or even necessarily linked. Competing is not necessarily about winning and winning isn't as important as remaining competitive in the long run. Winning isn't everything and it is not the only thing.

The anecdotes tend towards Harrah's, the Boston Red Sox and several less-than-mainstream firms, along with a few data-crazed firms, e.g., Google. More and more detailed examples of the first-rate use of analytics by top competitors in the corporate world would have been welcome. Personally, Harrah's use of analytics to maximize gambling revenues strikes me as exploiting people's addictions. As to the Red Sox, at least they finally won a Series. As to data, the authors seem to think that 'data' is a singular noun, which leaves me somewhat perplexed as to the analytics applied to editing the text.

The book is shorter than the listed 240 pages. The anecdotes tend to be repetitive, the analytics more descriptive than analytic, and the five-level model gets driven home right away and then driven in repeatedly.
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412 of 480 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Sutter on July 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is, for the most part, a disappointing mix of fallacy, circularity, inconsistency, banality and utopian promises. If you've read books such as N. Taleb's "Fooled by Randomness", P. Rosenzweig's "The Halo Effect", or, for the classically educated, D. Fischer's comprehensive "Historians' Fallacies" (1970), you can easily while away a few lazy hours spotting the bad reasoning throughout this book. I'll give a few examples in a minute or two.

The effect is more disappointing than infuriating because, unlike many other business authors, the authors aren't claiming to have some unique insights or to have discovered some new principle of strategy; their aims are refreshingly modest. About the best I can say for it is (a) if you never read the January 23, 2006 Business Week cover story "Math Will Rock Your World" (which, as of this writing, was available for free online) you can learn that sophisticated mathematical tools are being used in business, and that the market value of math Ph.D.s is increasing, and (b) if you did read that article and don't know much else about these tools, you can learn a little bit of terminology/jargon from the text boxes scattered throughout the book, and maybe a little bit about the political problems of implementing them (@145-146). As other reviewers have pointed out, the book won't teach you how to use or implement such tools. (The authors are forthright about this, e.g. @22.) Unfortunately, the authors also don't give any concrete illustration, with formulas or pictures or even an extended analogy, of how any such tool is used; they merely assert the tools' efficacy.
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92 of 114 people found the following review helpful By James Taylor on February 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Tom and Jeanne have written an excellent new book (building on a paper they wrote some time ago) about what they call "analytic competitors", that is to say companies that use their analytic prowess not just to enhance their operations but as their lead competitive differentiator. The book discusses a number of these analytic competitors and gives an overview of how analytics can be used in different areas of the business and how you can move up the analytic sophistication scale.

The book has two parts - one on the nature of analytical competition and one on building an analytic competency. The first describes an analytical competitor and how this approach can be used in both internal and external processes. The second lays out a roadmap for becoming an analytical competitor, how to manage analytical people, a quick overview of a business intelligence architecture and some predictions for the future.

They define an analytical competitor as an organization that uses analytics extensively and systematically to outthink and outexecute the competition. The analytics are in support of a strategic distinctive competency and they argue, persuasively, that without a distinctive capability you cannot be an analytic competitor.

The book outlines what they call four pillars of analytical competition- a distinctiive capability, enterprise-wide analytics, senior management commitment and large scale ambition. They lay out 5 stages of analytic competition from "analytically impaired" to "analytic competitor". The importance of experimentation is made clear and the book repeatedly emphasizes the need for companies and executives to be willing to run the business "by the numbers".
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