Data Analytics Has Bloomed on the Cloud

 Data Analytics

Data analytics guru Tom Davenport says he plans, along with co-author Jeanne Harris, to publish an update to their seminal work, Competing on Analytics, to be released in September. In honor of the 10th anniversary of its first release, he took a look back at the progress that’s been made since 2007.

His observation: It’s an entirely different world from 2007, though enterprises still use many of the same tools that were in use back then. “Some technologies from a decade ago are still in broad use,” he recently wrote in Harvard Business Review.

But something is very, very different. Now, organizations have the cloud to manage and store big data, as well as run powerful analytic tools.

As a result of cloud, big data analytics more available to small to medium-size businesses that previously could not afford big data-crunching systems and applications. “Cloud-based analytics made it possible for organizations to acquire massive amounts of computing power for short periods at low cost,” says Davenport. “Even small businesses could get in on the act, and big companies began using these tools not just for big data but also for traditional small, structured data.” Also, tools and platforms such as Hadoop and scripting languages have made big analysis more palatable for many organizations.

A recent survey from EMA, Informatica, and Deloitte confirms that using the cloud for analytics is now important for nearly 92 percent of organizations, with over 70 percent considering it of key importance. “Cloud’s dominance suggests that cloud-first initiatives are increasingly responsible for driving business insights and, as more cloud options come to market, organizations are getting better at taking advantage of them.”

There’s also been another significant shift in the data analytics space in recent years. Those companies getting ahead of the curve with analytics programs are starting to show positive results for their efforts.

The Informatica-Deloitte-EMA survey confirms that “data has busted out of its siloes and is readily available for business decision makers, not just analysts,” and that “enterprises are leveling up new capabilities, powered by cloud, that enable greater productivity than ever before.”

A recent study by Accenture and MIT finds many companies are already ahead of the curve when it comes to data analytics, high performers “are far ahead in the journey from data and analysis to insights, decisions and outcomes,” the study’s authors, David Simchi-Levi, Brian McCarthy, and Jyo Gadewadikar, point out in a recent report from Accenture. “This distinctive approach contributes to measurable gains across their enterprises. In essence, the stronger a company’s commitment to analytics, the higher that company’s performance.”


By incorporating analytics into decision-making processes linked to desired business outcomes, “high performers can make smarter decisions faster and with greater certainty,” the Accenture-MIT team concludes. “They also make decisions that are more likely to lead to tangible business results.”