Monday Morning Analytics

The word “analytics” appears to have a million different meanings. Merely appending the word to just about anything confers an instant halo that hints at intelligence, smartness and numeracy. Naturally, vendors of software for reporting, OLAP and BI have been quick to do this.

In my experience, when I come across the word “analytics”, it typically means data summaries of various stripes. These summaries may be presented in mind-numbingly dense reports, may allow users to drill down into great detail, pivot back and forth and so on. But, at the end of the day, they are just summaries.

They are clearly necessary but far from sufficient. While they can point to where problems or opportunities may lie, they don’t usually indicate what to do next, what action to take.

I meet business decision-makers regularly as part of my work and there is immense frustration at the lack of analytics that are actionable or prescriptive. In the course of a typical workday, the typical manager reads through numerous management reports chockfull of data. But very rarely can they immediately determine what actions they should take to respond to the numbers they see in the reports.

Fortunately, there are exceptions to this dismal state of affairs. There are an increasing number of examples of business problems where analytics have been developed to recommend the best action to take. These analytics don’t just provide insights; they recommend actions, suggest decisions for the decision-maker to consider. In other words, they offer specific advice for what to do on Monday morning.

These Monday Morning Analytics will be a key theme of this blog.

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