Some of the best-performing retailers are using
analytics not just for finance and operational
activities, but to boost competitive advantage on
everything from displays, to marketing, customer
service and customer experience management.
Big data, analytics and the
Path From Insights to value
How the smartest organizations are embedding analytics to
transform information into insight and then action. Findings
and recommendations from the first annual New Intelligent
Enterprise Global Executive study.
In 2002, Greater atlanta’s Gwinnett County public school system, not unlike
big public school systems everywhere, had a problem. student perfor-
mance by any metric was dropping, and graduation rates for at-risk kids and
underprivileged teenagers especially were in decline. Nothing the educators attempted was reversing the trend.
But the school — like all enterprises of its size, whether commercial or institutional — increasingly had
data. and Gwinnett County started to use it.
Gwinnett, in suburban atlanta, Georgia, is the 14th largest school system in the united states, has 23,000
employees and transports more people every school day than locally based carrier, delta air lines. all that activity generates information, more and more of it captured digitally. and in 2002, as the school system’s leaders
continued seeking fresh educational solutions, they began to explore how analytics could help — how all that
information could be investigated for patterns, relationships, dependencies, predictors. The question: What aspects of an educationally at-risk student’s performance most accurately predicted whether or not he or she
would eventually graduate? Where was the leverage that could change that student’s likelihood of success?
The analytics-driven answer: algebra I. The data proved that for the most challenged cohort of students nothing was a more powerful predictor of graduation than the successful completion of algebra I (in this system,
FROM THE EDITOR
to gain insight
twice as likely to
apply analytics to
The biggest challenges in adopting
analytics are managerial and cultural.
differently will become increasingly
CouRTEsY oF BEsT BuY
WINTER 2011 MIT SLOAN MANAGEMENT REVIEW 21