The definition given for "Analytics" in your blog article is simply beautiful - very succint and crisp - and the best I have come across till date.
- "Analytics is the disciplined use of data to understand root causes, identify levers of change and pockets of opportunity, and to provide predictive capabilities that inform strategic actions."
I just wish to add one more point to your note on "Return on Information". You have rightly pointed out that " analytics is a discipline that requires the right skill sets, tools, executive support, and organizational culture to deliver maximum value." But there is one more critical aspect to guarantee returns - which is "closing the loop between analytics and action". Or in other words, organization should translate analytics into action.
I have to agree with Kesavan, I loved your definition.
I recently came across this concept of Human Capital analytics and I admit I find the idea very intriguing. Can you recommend any great resources in this field? I'll be sure to check out your post too.
Our company website has an 'Information Center' and a blog that are a good source of thoughts, papers, and presentations on Human Capital Analytics (akak, "Workforce Analytics" -- different, but overlapping with 'workforce management' which is mostly concerned with deployment of hourly workers). Here is the link: www.infohrm.com.
Also check out the 'Human Capital Institute' for some additional information. Some of it is free/open.
Let me know if you have any questions on it. I created a group within Analytics Bridge that I will start to populate with some thoughts.
Nicholas, in principle there is no problem of calculating profit from any technology and any measurable resource, including information. Examples:
- in decision process, information means reduction of uncertainty, and can be relatively easily translated to money value;
- in the business process, integrating 5 separate systems into one means the centralisation of process logistics, and ROI increases thanks the reduction of transactions (calculable), reduction of capital frozen in the process (calculable) due to speeding the process etc.;
- discovering new relationship (knowledge!!!) between the resource (say - training) and business result can be relatively easily translated to the organisational change so as the training is simply an investment made for getting return.
The problem is that no technology and no information automatically guarantee business improvement. In theory - because there is no strict cause-effect relation between the resource and business result. In practice - because some new (additional) effort is necessary in order to benefit from new information or technology.
For example, if You install new, much faster machine in production line, the productivity of tangible assets decreases due to the bottleneck in front of the next machine and the decrease of total machine utilisation - unless You redesign all the process.
Sometimes this additional effort is seen as too big to undertake...
Nevertheless, Your idea of human capital analytics is stunning, and inspired me to go further - see my new post in my new blog. The idea is to develop Intellectual Capital analytics. Not sure, of course, if it makes sense, and therefore there are more questions than answers.