Business Analytics: The Importance of Speed in Business


business analytics


This article was first published in the Rochester Engineering Magazine

Business analytics is directly tied to how quickly your organization is keeping up with changing times. There was a popular business book by Jason Jennings and Laurence Haughton a few years back titled It’s Not the Big That Eat the Small ... It’s the Fast That Eat the Slow; How to Use Speed as a Competitive Tool in Business. The key concepts of the book are think faster, make fast decisions, get to market faster, and sustain your speed.

The theme of this book relates to products and marketing, which in turn lead to business analytics – how to spot trends, how to put ideas through a testing process to probe for their downside weaknesses, and how to change the company environment to ensure that the best idea wins.


How does business speed apply to IT?


IT speed = business speed

It is high-level IT strategy and technology’s day-to-day responsiveness that either allows business analytics to accelerate or become sugar in the gas tank. I note the risk to the reader of using too many automobile analogies, but slow technology is tantamount to getting in your car, choosing and mapping out a destination, and in an attempt to accelerate through a curve, finding no responsiveness from the gas pedal. You may get through the curve without crashing, but there are a lot of other competitors passing you by, beeping as they go by.

It’s a modern maxim that business success is dependent on having the right information at the right time. As the Internet has matured, businesses connect more easily with each other, customers, and suppliers – regardless of distance, language, or location. Yet as networks become more complex and users become more sophisticated, getting the right information to the right user at the right time is more difficult than ever. With choice comes complexity.

Today, your customers are contributing to your business analytics by interacting with the Internet, querying multiple databases, personalizing portal applications, engaging in real-time messaging, and employing streaming video. IT managers face an increasing user demand for mission-critical systems deployed on corporate networks.

The decline in the cost of bandwidth has accelerated this trend, encouraging businesses to deploy more intranets, create new distribution channels through e-commerce, and integrate their networks with suppliers, partners, and customers. With increasingly intricate requirements, enterprises are challenged to scale networks in real time and ensure reliability and security of the data – and do it quickly. It’s not just the big companies who win in this new economy; the companies who have the ability to move fast stand an equal chance at capturing market share and succeeding.


Business Analytics Are Based on Change Over Time

The IT dynamics that existed twenty years ago when most IT departments were formed do not exist today and haven’t existed for a number of years.

Let’s take a quick look at the IT adventures of the past 20 years: distributed networks, distributed printing, e-mail, PDAs, spam, viruses, Internet, websites, WAN, VPNs, NAS/SAN, patch management, disaster recovery, firewalls, remote computing and load balancing. Many of those terms didn’t exist twenty years ago and many are disciplines in themselves. We have in front of us the capability to go from building rafts to constructing aircraft carriers but unfortunately the attempt often ends up with a larger raft.


Are You Ready to Improve your business analytics?

How does management respond to this situation with enough resources to keep up with existing services, train technical staff, implement new technologies, and deal with the increasing dilemma of how to manage and secure these networks and the constant pressure to keep critical data moving forward?

That’s the question for today. Is your company addressing business analytics and the dynamics that are applicable today? Think about IT.