It's not too late for predictive insight

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Last week was a busy one in the world of business analytics. The biggest news for SAS is our ranking as a leader in predictive analytics and data mining by an independent analyst firm. In The Forrester Wave: Predictive Analytics and Data Mining Solutions, Q1 2010, SAS earned top overall ranking in all three categories – current offering, strategy and market presence – including perfect scores for functionality, professional services, licensing and cost, direction, and company financials criteria.

Separately, new research launched last week from our friends at Accenture shows that most global organizations are failing to use analytics to make informed decisions and predict future business events.

What are we to make of these two divergent studies? On the one hand, you have a report that says there are at least nine qualified vendors that provide mature products for predictive analytics. On the other, you have survey results that say most executives are still primarily trusting their instincts. In fact, their organizations are encumbered with "siloed data, outdated technology and a lack of analytical talent."

Are most businesses in a hopeless situation, buried in data, organized chaotically and too overwhelmed to find insights? Or are there still opportunities to re-prioritize and start making decisions based on predictive insights?
The Forrester report sounds hopeful: “Predictive analytics can play a pivotal role in the planning and day-to-day operations of your business.” The report's author, James Kobielus, is a Senior Analyst at Forrester.

Likewise, the Accenture research shows that companies are recognizing the value of predictive analytics – and are planning for it. While more than half the respondents said their organizations are structured in a way that prevents data and analytical talent from generating enterprise-wide insight, 71 percent said that their organization’s senior managers are still “totally” or “highly” committed to analytics and fact-based decision-making. And the greatest long-term analytical priority? Developing the capabilities to model and predict.

Dave Rich, Managing Director of the Accenture Analytics group says, “This is a huge opportunity that organizations are failing to harness. We believe that predictive analytics will be the difference between the winners and losers in the next economic cycle.”

But how do you become one of those winners? Where do you start? Start within your own organization, and take advice from these experts:

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About Author

Alison Bolen

Editor of Blogs and Social Content

+Alison Bolen is an editor at SAS, where she writes and edits content about analytics and emerging topics. Since starting at SAS in 1999, Alison has edited print publications, Web sites, e-newsletters, customer success stories and blogs. She has a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University and a master’s degree in technical writing from North Carolina State University.

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