Analytics: 2010 in review and 2011 predictions

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Now that we rang in the New Year, I thought we should take a look back on a few major 2010 analytic landmarks and then look ahead into 2011.

2010 in Review

Consolidation: Analytic consolidation continued to be highlighted by IBM’s purchase of Unica, Netezza and Coremetrics. Overkill especially given IBM’s purchase of SPSS in 2009? Maybe not given the heightened focus on online, big data and analytics.

Big Data for the masses meets social media: Huge data environments may now be implemented in any environment, and at minimal costs, with the advances of database appliances and open source huge data solutions such as Hadoop and Mahout. These environments are also major enablers for online businesses such as Google, Facebook and Groupon.

Educational institutions still drive analytic evolution and that’s beyond the mathematical, statistical and machine learning theory. Educational institutions are simply in a position to evolve much quicker than most businesses. No change here in 2010 so why is this on the list? Recent graduates are armed to the hilt analytically coming out of school compared to when I graduated – not only in the theory but in the tools and business applications. Analytic companies are seeing this and becoming more actively involved. As a result, SAS is a sponsor of the NC State Advanced Analytics program and IBM / SPSS just teamed up this past fall semester with the DePaul Center for Data Mining. Are the big analytic companies doing this out of the kindness of their hearts? I believe so but there are other reasons driving the need for these partnerships including my final 2011 prediction below.

2011 Look Ahead

Online Analytics: I believe the consolidation of online and offline data will take off in 2011 as many of the barriers are starting to come down including organizational barriers and the early 2000’s proliferation of online data silos. Yes, many are doing this now but most are not consolidating, analyzing and acting on the online and offline data in an efficient manner. We will see a big step ahead in 2011 in this area.

Analytics will move up the organizational chain: Analytics typically reports into the business function it supports (marketing, risk,..) but with the continued proliferation of analytics throughout the organization analytics needs to be in a better position organizationally to provide support in all areas. Some predict that the role of Chief Analytic Officer (CAO) will become mainstream over the coming years in certain industries.

2011 will be the year of R (an open sourced analytic solution widely regarded as one of the most powerful analytic tools available): Although the adoption process started long ago it will gain speed quickly and one of the primary reasons is because most new analytic graduates are now well versed in R and will question the analytic old-schoolers’ use of other tools.

**Fortune Magazine recently listed R as a name you need to know in 2011 – http://blogs.forbes.com/smcnally/2010/11/10/names-you-need-to-know-in-2011-r-data-analysis-software/

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