What does that mean for business analytics vendors? In a lot of ways, it means business leaders don't need us to market the idea of analytics to them anymore. They've bought into it. They've read Competing on Analytics, The Numerati or The New Know. They've seen analytics work, and they get it.
So what do they want? They want specifics on how to start using analytics to solve problems in their organizations today.
I think Jeanne Harris and Tom Davenport were aware of this shift when they wrote their new book, Analytics at Work. Where their first book, Competing on Analytics, set out to convince readers about the benefits of analytics, this latest book describes how to deploy analytics one decision at a time. It's more of a how-to manual for bringing analytics to your day-to-day operations.
This is also why the extended partnership between SAS and Accenture is important. Both companies are planning to re-up their commitment to bring analytics into the workplace at the point where the business needs them the most - wherever that may be.
In the joint press release, Henry Morris of IDC, explains the benefits to businesses:
What is in very short supply are experts who are familiar with analytic techniques and know how to apply them to industry-specific decisions ... This alliance would address the expertise gap by making more industry-specific analytic solutions available with project-based or managed service delivery.
Likewise, in a recent article about putting analytics to work, Jeanne Harris says:
... a range of non-technical factors contribute to enhanced analytical capabilities. Firms that succeed in this area are doing a lot more than just buying technology. Crucially, they are focused on making analytics integral to the way people think, work and make decisions throughout the enterprise.
Finally, James Taylor, posted an in-depth reaction to the SAS and Accenture partnership on his blog, where he says:
The announcement that [Accenture] will be working more closely with SAS makes perfect sense for them – they needed a set of analytic software around which to work and on which to focus. Given their history of working with SAS, and SAS’ industry position, SAS was an obvious choice.
People are talking about the partnership on Twitter too, so hop over there now to follow the news (Hmm, and look at that. I'm noticing at the top of the stream that Accenture is hiring SAS analysts at multiple locations. That's a free bonus tip for any sascom readers here who might be job searching.)