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Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,044 ratings  ·  66 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.
Hardcover, 218 pages
Published February 5th 2007 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published February 1st 2007)
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Apr 18, 2014 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.
Dec 06, 2012 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
Yash Verma
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you want to know the areas or functions where analytics can be applied, this is the book. Book is divided in two parts, first will give information on the "Where" part of the application of analytics in an organization and second part deals with the "How" to apply it.
David Cain
Aug 15, 2011 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 ...more
Jun 01, 2009 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.
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This books still carries much relevance today despite being written over 10 years ago in 2007. Authors Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris were on the leading edge of sharing the new standard for business competition in this book. The standard is about competing on data with analytics. This Harvard Business School book is written as expected with a heavy academia structure. It first defines what it means to be analytically driven as a company before providing a framework to assess and help mature ...more
Gabriel Le Gall
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was rather interesting but not as insightful as I expected. I liked the frameworks presented in the first section "The Nature of Analytical Competition" but I agree with the previous comment saying that this book was not very impressive. The research conducted by the authors did not unveil much and I feel like they simply confirmed what we all assumed was true: Analytics is a competitive advantage, it leads to increased ROI, It's not only about IT it's about people... etc. At the end ...more
Adam Ribaudo
Apr 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
I read this book for a graduate level course but it feels especially outdated and irrelevant now. Perhaps to no fault of the authors. We can take for granted now that organizations will leverage data to gain a competitive advantage but this book spends chapters lauding that notion's virtues.

The book was written in 2007 and I thought the compliments it paid to data innovations in the financial sector were especially cringe worthy.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is best suited to business experts who are completely unaccustomed to statistical business intelligence. This niche must be getting rarer every year since the book was published and the book suffers a less than incisive title choice with the word “new”. I do not recommend this book to non-MBAs not because they have expertise but because they lack it.
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very useful for understanding the history and placing an organization in its context in preparation for change. The practical section provides a helpful framework for thinking about developing analytical capacities in an organization. While some translation may be needed to inform my field, institutional research (higher education), I've found it useful.
Dele Omotosho
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting overview on the need for analytics. This is just an overview.

Desperately needs an update in light of all the advancement in data science.
Feb 29, 2012 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
Tim Jones
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Although this book is outdated (written 10 years ago) the message should be impactful. How using data and analytics puts you ahead of your competitors and is necessary to optimize any business. Really helps you realize how predictive analytics is the future and will be used in all successful companies now and in the future.
Mark Ruzomberka
Aug 05, 2011 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
Apr 03, 2011 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
Jan 25, 2012 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
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, non-fiction
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 ...more
Sid Mohasseb
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Simply excellent! Davenport has captured the essence of a reinsurance... that is to say he has encapsulated what is head in terms of competition - although competing on analytics is not new, its rediscovery and articulation by Davenport is essential to advancement of companies. He provides great examples and wonderful context. Personally, his work has been foundational for me as it laid the ground for my thoughts around going beyond competing on analytics by competing through analytically driven ...more
Aug 24, 2013 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 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
David Owen
Mar 28, 2013 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.
Daniel Weaver
Aug 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
Completely lacking on detail, this book is full of vague, useless statements urging you to use analytics more but not specific enough to be helpful on how you might do it.

I will tell you essentially my only useful takeaway from the book. It makes sense to start competing on analytics in a small part of your organization and build from there, such as Capital One with its improvements over credit scoring to scrap the cream off the junk. Ok now don't read it.
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 06, 2008 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!
Takuro Ishikawa
Jul 16, 2010 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.
Jun 21, 2008 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.
Jm Rollins
Dec 29, 2015 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.
Dinda Tisi
Dec 26, 2013 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.
Apr 28, 2008 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.
Nov 07, 2010 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.
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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