We see several business challenges that led up to the newfound focus on business analytics, as well as several challenges that business analytics must rise to meet.

We all know that the economic environment has been more intense and challenging than ever before. At the time of this book’s writing, the global economy is still on unsure footing, consumers are still being conservative about their spending, the real estate market has not fully recovered, and businesses are struggling to understand how to grow effectively, yet profitably. In the first quarter of 2012, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, was still predicting only modest growth during 2012, expecting economic and job growth to remain somewhat muted through the remainder of 2012.5 Those companies that identify with the Fed’s cautious outlook see the economic glass as half-empty and are trying to hold market share, stem losses, and keep their current customers happy.

Yet business and consumer confidence is showed signs of improvement during 2012, and the long-term payroll data trend from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that companies have started to create new jobs. Therefore, optimistically minded companies are eagerly trying to be smart about staying ahead of business trends, as well as about how to capture some of the impending economic growth. Regardless of whether your future business outlook is optimistic or pessimistic, effective business analytics is becoming a ...

Get Win with Advanced Business Analytics: Creating Business Value from Your Data now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.