The one-billion dollar plastic cover

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Jim Davis, CMO at SAS reckons he has seen more change in business and economics in the past two or three years than in the previous 20. “To succeed in business you have to innovate, you have to do brand new things. Only problem is, that brings risks,” Jim said in his keynote address, "The Analytic Difference: Better Performance and Deeper Insights" at The Premier Business Leadership Series in Antwerp.

photo credit: Apple

Staying ahead of the curve is critical both to identifying trends that tell you where to innovate, and minimizing risk.

Nokia, Google, Microsoft and RIM are all great companies that have seen their stocks bomb in the past couple of years because they have failed to do both. Contrast this with Apple. Being ahead of the curve through great insights into consumer trends has made Apple the company with the world’s second highest market cap after Exxon Mobil.

Being ahead of the curve brings incredible dividends: Jim illustrated the point by holding up the piece of plastic branded by Apple and bought by most users of the iPad 2. It retails for $45 but has generated more than a billion dollars for Apple because, well, because the iPad was a “must have” product and there was no cover from a third party.

Jim went on to explain how making sense of vast amounts of data will be key to understanding consumers in the future. The new challenge is that 80-90 percent of that data is now unstructured: putting transactions into a database will not be enough.

“Analytics is not a tool but a mindset. In the new world, optimization, predictive modeling, statistical modeling and forecasting will be essential for any organization that wants to ensure that the curve does not work against them,” said Jim.

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