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Win with Advanced Business Analytics: Creating Business Value from Your Data by Jesse Harriott, Jean Paul Isson

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CURIOSITY CAN KILL THE CAT

You know the old saying, “Curiosity killed the cat.” Well, in the case of business analytics, it can. We see it too often on analytical teams—analysts really enjoy exploring the data. Exploring data often leads to more questions, which lead to more exploring of the data, which leads to . . . okay, you get the idea. This usually results in unmet expectations from the business and eventually the business seeing the analysts as purveyors of data, rather than as strategic business partners. It’s essential that your analysts get out of this self-stimulating intellectual spiral and focus their efforts on uncovering the meaning that’s related to clearly defined business questions when they are exploring the data. In the corporate world, there is rarely any time for intellectual curiosity. Intellectual curiosity is to be satisfied in the academic world or on your analyst’s own time. Business analytics is ultimately about helping the company increase revenues or save costs, either directly or indirectly. Therefore, analytical work should drive toward these two goals. Analyzing business questions or exploring data that does not have as its ultimate goal to either lower costs or increase revenue is not where the focus of your analytical team should be. The previously mentioned reasons are why the IMPACT cycle for the analyst focuses its first two phases (“identify” and “master the data”) on dealing with these issues.

The first phase of the IMPACT cycle is to identify ...

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