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Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  770 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
You have more information at hand about your business environment than ever before. But are you using it to “out-think” your rivals? If not, you may be missing out on a potent competitive tool.

In Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning, Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris argue that the frontier for using data to make decisions has shifted dramatically. Cer
Hardcover, 218 pages
Published February 5th 2007 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published February 1st 2007)
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18th out of 88 books — 40 voters
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Dec 06, 2012 Willis rated it really liked it
This is not the kind of book that you read for fun. I read it for work reasons because I've been doing more work related to analytics and how to improve business decisions based on better data. So I found this to be an extremely useful book for what I do at work in helping me to think outside of just statistical methods. The premise is that it takes a lot of different skills: computer science, statistics, business understanding, communication skills to really be able to be an analytical company. ...more
David Cain
Aug 15, 2011 David Cain rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
The focus in this brief volume is on trends in analytics as well as how and why organizations should improve their analytical capabilities. I would have preferred to see more details and case studies that delve into specific metrics that have helped organizations, rather than the generalities that fill out most of this text. After reading this, you will be convinced that your organization needs to improve its analytical capabilities, but this book will not necessarily give you a detailed road ma ...more
Apr 18, 2014 Horia rated it liked it
I am not impressed with the information in this book. It just provides an overview for analytics.
I have to agree that the models I contains are valuable for someone (me) that doesn't work in the domain. However, I could argue that just keeping those and cutting back on useless descriptions would have made for a more concise (thus appealing) read.
The audience that I would imagine would be reading this book would be: the people that want to sell analytics to some company.
Jan 31, 2016 JP rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, business
This is an excellent overview about how businesses can - and must - sharpen their analytic and measurement capabilities in order to understand that clients and operate effectively. The concepts are as relevant today as when the book was published nine years ago. If the case studies featured are now well-known examples, their permanence in a fast-moving economy validates the importance of the book. Two key concepts I found especially valuable were the importance of aligning analytics to a strateg ...more
Jun 01, 2009 Isk rated it liked it
Gave me a better picture of how analytics is used in other companies (and how to better convince people that analytics is needed =)), but... Definitely to be skimmed.
Feb 29, 2012 Al rated it liked it
Summary: analytics is the extensive use of date, statistical and quantitative analysis, explanatory and predictive models and fact based management to drive decision and actions.


Analytical Competitors: organizations that have selected one or a few distinctive capabilities on which to base their strategies and then have applied extensive data, statistical and quantitative analysis, and fact-based decision making to support the selected capabilities.

Business Intelligence: set of technologies
Apr 12, 2011 Liam rated it it was amazing
"Among the firms we studied, we found that the most analytically sophisticated and successful had four common key characteristics: (1) analytics supported a strategic, distinctive capacity; (2) the approach to and management of analytics was enterprise-wide; (3) senior management was committed to the use of analytics; and (4) the company made a significant strategic bet on analytics-based competition. We found each of these attributes present in the companies that were most aggressively pursuing ...more
Mark Ruzomberka
Sep 26, 2011 Mark Ruzomberka rated it it was amazing
Impressive book. As I make my way through Drexel's MBA program I'm finding anything published by the Harvard Business School press to be a cut above my normal reading material. While most of my reading of their work was through handouts for a MIS class and academically focused this book I picked up to further my education of the Web Analytics field.

With over a dozen pages dog eared this one will be on my shelf for the long haul. The competing on analytics stages model is by far my favorite part
Jm Rollins
Dec 29, 2015 Jm Rollins rated it it was ok
Reads like an overly long term paper. Mostly intuitive information for people even remotely involved in using analytics. I was also surprised by the amount of anecdotal information presented in the book. Likely a good read to convince someone that analytics is important, but not much value to an analyst.
Jan 25, 2012 Tim rated it liked it
Business book on the how some corporations are focusing on improving their analytical power and competing on that basis. The book effectively explains how organizations grow through several stages to becoming an analytical competitor.

Details: As someone who works in this area, the book is quite general. However, I had some non-analytical partners enjoy reading the book, so that is a strength too.
The most interesting areas of the book are where specific examples are highlighted, from Netflix to H
Jonathan Palay
Apr 03, 2016 Jonathan Palay rated it liked it
Compelling framework on how companies compete on analytics. It still shocks how new analytic thinking is to so many organizations. Its clear that companies who do this well have an edge.
Compelling framework on how companies compete on analytics. It still shocks how new analytic thinking is to so many organizations. Its clear that companies who do this well have an edge.
Nov 15, 2014 Charles rated it it was amazing
A great read on the coming growth of Big Data. Not too technical and gives a good understanding on who is leading and the hurdles facing companies and making sense on DATA "Gone Wild"
Roland Fiege
Apr 24, 2014 Roland Fiege rated it really liked it
Tom Davenport explaining how information is now the key differentiator and competitive advantage. Food for thought.
Aug 24, 2013 Jonatan rated it liked it
This books make a few good examples on how companies (casinos, dvd clubs..) use data on customer bahaviour to make smarter offers and in the end, more profitable business. Some of the examples are good, and some of the general recommendations such as finding out where your analytical efforts are best directed before investing heavily in data collection and experimental set ups. Other general recommendations could have been cut out, like the ones on securing senior committment before rolling out ...more
May 19, 2012 Mitch rated it did not like it
Jargon, buzzwords, dated.

It isn't clear that the authors actually know any business analytics. They have some surveys, observations, and stories. They explain that companies use data to succeed, but we already know that. There are a few useful tables, but not many. The book doesn't go very deep. It doesn't to analyze data. The book doesn't even discuss which questions to ask. Asking the right questions about data is important and you could do it without using ltos of map. I've even seen people m
Feb 19, 2016 Zohaib is currently reading it
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Nov 18, 2015 Nguyen added it
Very clear methodology of applying analytics on business environment.
Takuro Ishikawa
Jul 16, 2010 Takuro Ishikawa rated it it was ok
This book documents an emerging trend in the business arena: decision making based on research and statistical analysis. About time!

In this book, Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris explain why executives should rely on analytics to make decisions. In addition, the authors also describe different stages of analytical maturity, a road map for improving analytics in a company, and a set of ideas on how to manage analytical people and how to synchronize business intelligence with analytics.
David Owen
Mar 28, 2013 David Owen rated it liked it
I felt the book stayed too high level and barely scratched the surface. If you are looking for a deep dive into business analytics and how to apply such tools to your business, this book is not for you. However, if you are looking for a high level intro into business analytics this is a good read as the author offers insightful explanations on how organizations such as Netflix, Tesco, and the Boston RedSox have utilized analytics as their main competitive advantage.
Lauren Albert
Don't expect a car to fly. The authors were not touting a how-to guide as far as could tell--so it is silly to criticize them for not providing one. Instead, they gave readers an excellent overview of analytics and what it can be(and is)used for with real-life examples. I wouldn't expect the very first book I read on analytics to turn me into a business analyst. But it is a very good introduction for a beginner such as myself.
Jul 12, 2008 Roger rated it really liked it
Inspires and informs those in-the-know about how to know even more through analyzing the numbers. For business functions like marketing, operations and supply chains, specific analytical techniques were listed so that a decision maker can hunt down the details on these tools.

Being an IT person who's also got his foot in supply chain, I found this pretty pertinent. Now I feel like applying some of these to my workplace!
Dinda Tisi
Jan 14, 2014 Dinda Tisi rated it really liked it
As a beginner, I found this book very interesting. There are many real examples of applications of analytics in various business areas. Although the guide to actually compete on analytics isn't given in enough detail, this book provides a good overview on why and how analytics can be applied throughout business.
Jan 09, 2014 Stanley rated it really liked it
A bit dated, but does a thorough job of explaining how analytics has the potential to impact each aspect of the firm (from strategy and finance to marketing and operations).
Jun 21, 2008 John rated it really liked it
Not bad for a business book. It was interesting and somewhat enlightening about how companies are using business analytics to more-or-less-scientifically improve performance. I wish there was a little more detail about how to do the analytics, but this book was mostly about high-level overview of some companies that were doing it, and different "stages" of companies that adopt it.
Nov 23, 2010 Dav rated it it was ok
This was a pretty decent overview of the reasons to pay attention to the Predictive Analytics sort of Business Intelligence. It was a bit more high level that I was hoping though. It would serve well as an introduction to someone who is just getting interested in the matter, and perhaps has to convince upper management to embrace the concepts.
Ben Hughes
Nov 07, 2010 Ben Hughes rated it liked it
This has become somewhat of a standard survey of Business Analytics. The first half is case studies of companies such as Amazon, Netflix, and Capital One; while the second is an outline of what coampanis should consider in order to compete on analytics. Overall a great survey, but I found the case studies to be of the most interest.
Mar 04, 2009 Craig rated it liked it
This book started off very strong and provided some excellent examples of competing using analytics. Unfortunately, it devolved into lists of do's and don'ts and the final chapter on the future of analytics was just plain obvious. I didn't think there was much insight or useful information in the last 1/4 of the book.
Dec 22, 2008 Daniel rated it it was ok
The first half of the book was good with some very interesting examples of success, but then it just dried up, not even in the mechanics of it, but just in categorization. The latter half reads too much like a scientific journal to be interesting to anyone except Fields Medal winner.
Jason Hurley
May 06, 2011 Jason Hurley rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jason by: Andy Rykse
I absolutely loved this book. I would have liked more examples of how to apply the knowledge they described, but there were still so many great success stories of companies who have applied data analytics. I recently got into this field and this book was very motivational and exciting!
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Tom Davenport holds the President's Chair in Information Technology and Management at Babson College. His books and articles on business process reengineering, knowledge management, attention management, knowledge worker productivity, and analytical competition helped to establish each of those business ideas. Over many years he's authored or co-authored nine books for Harvard Business Press, most ...more
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