Dec 182013

We’ve come to expect breakthroughs from retail, social and financial institutions as they apply leading-edge analytics to deliver impressive business insights. Heavy industries such as utilities, energy exploration and transportation have lagged these analytics power-users in three key dimensions: enterprise culture, technology foundation and business results. I believe 2014 will be the year when these analytics “late-comers” will gain new prominence. Here are six predications on what to expect:

Enterprise Culture: new beliefs and norms are necessary to embrace analytics within most enterprises

1.  Analytics will be formalized as a leadership competency. Most large organizations have a set of leadership competencies that reflect their vision and strategy. In 2014, being able to drive decision making with analytics will become a key competency for leaders.
2. Everyday analytics will remain elusive. Translating the notion of analytics into routine action won’t become second nature in 2014. This is a classic process and change management challenge – it typically takes 2-3 years for an organization to make this journey.

Technology Foundation: advanced analytics requires adoption of rapidly evolving technology and new process disciplines related to information, integration, infrastructure, applications and visualization

3. Analytics start-ups will be viable. Driven by big investments from large enterprise and new ventures, every element of the analytics technology stack is evolving rapidly. Small, new companies will compete successfully with large, established suppliers in 2014. Analytics late-comers will appreciate the innovation, agility and focus on specific market segments that the leading start-ups provide. Don’t count out the large, established suppliers as some will leverage and integrate their broad offerings to deliver compelling results.
4. Undisciplined information governance will hinder progress. Most organizations struggle with traditional enterprise data management (data stewardship, master data management, integration…). Advanced analytics will require a broader and scaled-up approach to data management in addition to analytics management (data preparation, models…). Progress will be slow in 2014.

Business Results: translating information into business value requires new approaches and skills

5. Waterfall approach to analytics will disappoint. Analytics initiatives benefit from an agile and experimental approach to work. Traditional portfolio planning and waterfall development approaches will diminish results; this will prove to be a hard habit to break in 2014.
6. Initial analytics initiatives will be modest. Late-comers will enhance their existing operations or products in 2014 with simplistic, early ventures into analytics. Early wins will rarely be examples of highly sophisticated analytics, and don’t need to be.

The relevance of analytics is accelerating for every business. The tremendous potential for business results will make analytics an imperative. I’m looking forward to seeing progress from the late-comers in 2014.

[Editor’s Note: This post is part of the annual “Cutter Predicts …” series.]


Rick Harris

Rick Harris is a Senior Consultant with Cutter's Business & Enterprise Architecture practice. Rick's successful track record includes product development, manufacturing, customer service, supply chain, energy, and telematics. He possesses deep experience across a broad range of IT roles: enterprise architecture, IT strategy, continuous improvement, cost optimization, IT operations, and emerging technologies.


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