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Book Review: Competing On Analytics

October 28th, 2009 Comments off

            The schedule has been a bit rough lately but I’ve finally managed to finish reading one of the book choices that I picked up almost 6-months ago. The book, “Competing On Analytics”, is one of the many offerings from the Harvard Business School Press and is written by Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris. This book is also a great complement to my views of the CFO being the Master of Measurement within the organization.  For any senior Finance manager, being a valuable partner in the operation goes far beyond closing the month and generating the latest set of financials for everyone to review and see where results are with respect to the Budget. You must add value beyond a system generated report….

 competing-on-analytics

            That’s where this book is a fantastic illustration of the approach and areas that need to be focused on for superior results. In the book, the authors discuss the different elements of the approach, as well as the ingredients necessary to be successful in this approach. Particularly;

Ø  Using Analytics to build a distinctive capability

Ø  Defining the key attributes of analytical companies and competitors

Ø  Customer and Supplier applications

Ø  Transforming the ability to compete on Analytics into a lasting competitive advantage

 

            These are only a few of the areas covered within the book. However, one of the mantras that I have taken to the companies that I have worked with is the last one noted above: Transforming environments in a way that the improved results are sustainable and result in long-term advantage. There is nothing won in using the band-aid approach, making quick changes that can’t be sustained, for only short-term bottom line results. Eventually the short-sightedness of this approach will be known and the shallowness of your skills becomes apparent.

 

            The approach discussed in the book is also not for everyone. You obviously need to have a curiosity about the results, a desire to know what is driving the results of your company, and how you can further exploit that information for improved results. The approach of Analytics is not about going in and making wholesale expense cuts or reducing headcount. While these may ultimately be a possible action, it’s only after the appropriate data has been collected, reviewed, verified, and ultimately tabled for an educated business decision. Again, it all comes down to creating long-term and sustainable changes in the business and strengthening market position.

 

Thanks for reading . . . .

 

Jeffrey Ishmael