Advanced Analytics Success Factors - A Case Study

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Information and Service Management (ISM)
Companies are increasingly taking into use advanced analytics solutions. Advanced analytics solutions are computer programs that analyze data, make predictions on the future, and give optimization-based recommendations on courses of action for achieving pre-determined business goals. Analytics solutions employ sophisticated statistical and mathematical models, and are often offered by third parties. Companies use analytics solutions to improve the efficiency of their operations. This thesis studies whether the distinction between analytics and advanced analytics made in literature is well-founded. The second aim of this study is to find out, what contributes to an analytics initiative’s success. The study begins with a literature review synthesizing the findings of previous analytics research. The resulting synthesis identifies four distinct stages in an analytics project. They are acquiring data, transforming it into insights, communicating the insights, making business decisions, and finally implementing the decisions. Factors that contribute to each stage’s success are identified. The hypotheses that were developed in the theoretical part of the thesis are subsequently tested empirically using the single case study method and semi-structured interviews. The case study confirms the findings of earlier research. Analytics can be viewed as a process with clearly identifiable stages. Specific measures can be taken to improve the success of each stage. The results obtained suggest that an analytics initiative should always be preceded by a thorough goal definition stage. This is a finding that earlier research has not emphasized sufficiently. The study offers business executives a clear roadmap for managing analytics initiatives. It formulates clear action points and allocates parties the responsibility for executing them. The study also highlights some ordinary pitfalls preventing companies from fully benefitting from the results of analytics initiatives. Finally, the study points out new interesting research opportunities in the intersection of information systems science and cognitive science. A key difficulty in using analytics effectively is that the reasoning behind the insights created by the solutions are often complex. Cognitive science could provide us tools for making the insights easier to digest. Lastly, the study highlights that process decoupling will eventually be applied to analytics initiatives. Future studies should research how the stages of an analytics initiative can be separated from each other, and outsourced to parties performing them the most effectively.
Thesis advisor
Liesiö, Juuso
Vilkkumaa, Eeva
analytics, advanced analytics, management science, operations research
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