Analytics is a Science

November 10, 2012 — Leave a comment

The lately applied nomenclature for advanced analytics creates a useful distinction and a challenge to businesses.  First, analytics is a science: essentially complex hypothesis discovery using quantitative theory and methods.  As a science, it naturally has its own processes, people and tools not like other activities. The challenge to business executives is where does science fit in a non-scientific company?  Advanced analytics does not have a natural home in most companies.  That’s leading to some organizational incoherence when it comes to growing the analytics function beyond a point solution or functional silo, in marketing or pricing for example.

Analytics executives must make the case that they manage a scientific function.  As such, it has its own organic management and structure.  It’s not really part of another function.  If so, the question still stands, where does the advanced analytics function belong in the corporate structure.

There is a reasonable case, being made now by several large companies, that it is its own strategic business unit with leadership alignment up to a chief executive.  I suggest that more companies will establish the role of Chief Analytics Officer.

In another post, I will discuss where this level of leadership will come from in the current level of maturity for this science.

Edward H. Vandenberg

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