As per Wikipedia “A simple definition of analytics is the science of analysis… Business managers may choose to make decisions based on past experiences or rules of thumb, or there might be other qualitative aspects to decision making”.

A look into the history of business analytics shows its roots back to 5000 BC or may be much before that.

  • 5000 BC – Grog uses two sticks and four rocks to graph the upward trend in sales of his new invention, the wheel.
  • 3200 BC – Sumerian analysts predict the world’s use of letters will be greater than Mesopotamia’s supply of clay tablets by 3,000BC. Analysts suggest something called “papyrus” may solve the problem.
  • 1590 – The Globe Theatre of London text mines peasants’ comments after a play by “Shakespeare” and decides to ask him to write more plays like the last one.
  • 1908 – Henry Ford conducts a What-If analysis that makes clear that limiting the Model-T to one color, black, is the best way to maximize profits.

After going through the brief history of analytics the question which pops up – why a crucial tool like business analytics is facing organizational adoption challenge while a lesser critical technology like iPad is able to attract people across ages?

Survey conducted by Accenture on adoption of business analytics highlights low adoption of analytics in business

  • More than 50% of the organizations surveyed do not take advantage of analytics to help them target, service or interact with customers.
  • Most organizations accept they could benefit from an improved use of customer analytics
  • When making decisions about what customers want, many organizations are just as likely to rely on personal experience as analysis of data and facts

As per Bizjournals, 34% of small businesses in the US are now using the iPad in some business function — a statistic likely to increase at an even faster rate with the recent decision by apple to continue production and sale of the iPad 2 at a reduced price-point of $399.

Two primary drivers of iPad adoption are “user friendliness and ability to deliver a complete solution for the targeted needs – read, capture and share at ease. While in case of business analytics software, the provider’s attempt to solve every possible business problem resulted in complex and intimidating solutions (as a user will either need training or/and will need to frequently refer user guides).

Let us take an example of survey – one of the most commonly used tools to acquire information to solve a business problem (e.g. increase customer satisfaction). To derive insights from a survey data, business user needs to rely on multiple software tools like visualization applications, advanced analysis software, text mining software etc. Neck deep in complexity of using multiple tools, business users in most cases get caught in the small details while missing the crucial insights thus, leading to frustration and reluctance towards analytics software adoption.

Winds of change are shaping up. With shifting of software purchase decision to business users and advent of easy to use cloud based apps, things are starting to change. We at BRIDGEi2i recognized the need of business users introduced an easy to use app which helps them identify the elephants in the data – key problem are areas and primary areas to focus with an option to deep dive if required. A step towards making business analytics accessible.

The author is a Consulting Services Leader at BRIDGEi2i Analytics Solutions. He can be reached at sandip.saha@bridgei2i.com.