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Companies everywhere are catching onto the wisdom of mining information for patterns of performance. Using a combination of advanced statistical tools and good, old-fashioned experience, they're discovering and dissecting hidden patterns that can help guide their choices in operations, talent, technology, financial strategy, you name it. For those looking to drive performance in this way, there are two paths forward: start by investing in tools or start by investing in talent. If you have the right data and powerful tools, it'll be easy to uncover all the patterns you need to know about. Tools are important, but they have to be in the right hands. Experienced analysts working with business decision makers have a better chance of seeing important signals - and avoiding erroneous conclusions that lead to bad decisions. People who understand big-picture business and information are in short supply - but you have to start somewhere. Go ahead and dive in. Buy some tools and get moving. What if the somewhere you choose to start is the wrong place? If you can't get the talent you need in-house, look to other options like outside advice, managed analytics or a subscription-based model. This isn't rocket science. Your people can deliver the basics. There's no need to over-engineer this. Business is too complicated to rely on inexpert resources. They may not uncover the patterns that are really important. Besides, without the right talent, you won't even know what tools you need.
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