Value of Analytics

Analytics is a hot topic. Firms are making major investments in analytics. Consulting and software firms are following suit by offering analytics solutions.

Even the popular business press has picked up on the term “analytics” and “Big Data.”

A recent Wall Street Journal article (you may need to subscribe to get the full article) noted that the Bain & Co. is screening applicants based on their analytics ability. This is an indicator that employers will be looking for people with analytics skills and that companies are doing more analytics projects.

Although many analytics articles in the press talk about marketing applications, analytics is important to engineering fields as well. GE’s CEO recently discussed analytics as the “next holy grail” and is investing $1 billion in analytics.

It is clear that companies value analytics skills and the ability to manage analytics projects.

But, one thing that I’ve found is that analytics is not very well-defined in the press. You can read great things about analytics, but not really know what it is about. At a high level, analytics is about using data to make better decisions. But, if you dig deeper, you will find that analytics is really a large field composed of descriptive analytics, predictive analytics, and prescriptive analytics.

Since it is becoming clear that MEM students will encounter and lead analytics projects in their firms, MEM will be offering a Managerial Analytics class in the Spring. This class will help you understand the field and understand how to apply analytics to your firm.

This post is brought to you by Michael Watson, a Northwestern University MEM professor and author of the book Supply Chain Network Design.

1 Comment

  1. There are two other interesting facts about analytic and big data provided by Gartner:
    * 34 Billions of the 2013 IT’s spending will be dedicated to analytics and big data (
    * 4.4 Million new jobs will be crated by 2015 (2 of them in the US) to support analytics and big data and there is not enough skilled people to fill this positions (

    These 2 fact also talks about a rich space for innovation and entrepreneurship. There are also some noteworthy analytic startups within the NWU environment like NextBigSound, Adaptly and Groovebug just to mention some of them.

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