When the going gets tough, the tough use analytics


When do analytics really provide value? All the time, of course. However, one of the best times for analytics to prove their value is when you are asked to do more with less.   Often, the reason we are asked to do more with less is because of an economic downturn for our company, industry, or the economy as a whole. It is ironic that investing in analytics, which could have a meaningful impact on how well our organization functions long-term, is sometimes only considered when times are good and resources are plentiful, not when times are tough.  However history shows us time and again that analytics can help you the most by allowing you to do more with less.

Faster analytics provide even more value

High perCompress_Timeformance analytics makes it even easier to do more with less (especially in less time).  As you know, time is a limited resource that we just can't get back and for many decisions, timing is crucial. If it takes too long to get analytic insight needed to make a decision, it doesn't matter how great that insight is. When it's too late, it's too late.

The value that high-performance analytics adds on top of the better insights you get from predictive and prescriptive analytics is the ability to "compress time" and deliver those insights quicker, thereby improving their value to the overall business decision process already in place.

The history of fast analytics

If you think about it, this is really why computers were first invented: to deliver insight faster than previously thought possible.   Alan Turing developed the Turing machine, considered to be a model for the general purpose computer, to speed up the process of decoding the German military encrypted messages created by their Enigma machines in World War II.  The use of mathematics to help recognize patterns in these messages (analytics) coupled with high performance (computer processing of the Turing Machine) means that the earliest form of high-performance analytics helped bring about the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II.  Another fascinating example of analytics helping the allies win WW II can be found in Jordan Ellenberg's "How Not To Be Wrong - The Power of Mathematical Thinking".  In it you can read how Abraham Wald, a member of the Statistical Research Group (SRG), a (at the time) classified program tasked with helping the war effort, solved the issue of where best to add more armor on airplanes to decrease the number of planes being shot down.

Talk about analytics having a meaningful impact!

Imagine how you might apply analytics to help your organization solve problems or improve efficiency.    Bob Dudley, BP Group Chief Executive, provides a potential case in point in Oil and Gas with this statement from his speech he gave earlier this March at the Mexican Energy Reform Summit 2015. "If the global energy environment was highly competitive before - at $100 a barrel - it just got ultra-competitive at $50 to $60 a barrel."

This is a perfect example of where analytics can have a big impact for the oil & gas upstream processes. By helping to reduce the overall costs with getting oil out of the ground and then improving the processes of getting it to market, companies can potentially improve profits in this down market.   Read more about how analytics can help reduce costs in upstream exploration and production(E&P) in my previous post on "Analytics is an enhanced oil recovery process" and Keith Holdaway's book, "Harness Oil and Gas Big Data with Analytics." Interested in how analytics can help in the downstream process then see my colleague, Charlie Chase's recent post entitled "How to use analytics with O&G downstream data to improve forecast accuracy."


About Author

David Pope

Technical Leader, Senior Manager US Energy

David leads the pre-sales technical team for SAS US Energy which solves business problems in the Oil & Gas and Utilities industries using advanced analytics. He is a lifetime learner who enjoys sharing information and helping others to grow their careers. He earned a BS in Industry Engineering and a Computer Programming Certificate from North Carolina State University. Furthermore, he has over 29 years of business experience working with SAS across R&D, IT, Sales and Marketing in the Americas and Europe. He is an expert in working with data and producing insights through the use of analytics. David has presented at SAS Global Forum, the 2012 SAS Government Leadership Summit, IBM’s Information on Demand(IOD), EMC World, CTO Summit Conferences, is the author of the book: "Big Data Analytics with SAS", and he currently holds 14 patents for SAS in several countries: US, CA, Norway, UK, China, Mexico, and Hong Kong.

1 Comment

  1. Unfortunately enough, wars were the primary trigger for most significant human innovations if you look at human history.

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