Monday, June 23, 2008

Building an analytic capability

Data to knowledge to results: Building an analytic capability
Thomas H Davenport, Jeanne G Harris, David W De Long, Alvin L Jacobson.
California Management Review. Berkeley:
Winter 2001. Vol. 43, Iss. 2; pg. 117, 22 pgs

A corporation in the information age has unprecedented access to transaction data, but all too rarely is that data sifted into the sort of knowledge that can inform business decisions and create positive results.

* Wachovia Bank uses customer transaction data to support a modeling process that evaluates each branch's current and long-term profitability. in Atlanta, the bank's largest market, Wachovia showed significant performance improvements when it used the outputs of the modeling process as a basis to decide which of its 96 branches to close and in which locations to open new ones.

Creating a Data-Oriented or Fact-Based Culture

At Wachovia Bank, one executive vice president explained how data and information were part of the intrinsic value system of the firm, saying, "Wachovia's competitive position depends upon our ability to use information faster and smarter than our competition." Creating a culture that values data-- based decision making is an ongoing and highly challenging task. It is vital to maximizing an organization's analytic capabilities, because without solid values underlying analytic efforts, the already difficult-to-sustain behaviors necessary for success are easily neglected.

One of the first books written on the subject of decision support was Peter G.W. Keen and Michael S. Scott Morton, Decision Support Systems: An Organizational Perspective (Reading, MA: Addison Wesley, 1978).

A subsequent book written on the topic is J.W. Rockart and D.W. De Long, Executive Support Systems: The Emergence of Top Management Computer Use (Homewood, IL: Dow Jones-Irwin, 1998).

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