Christopher Musico wrote a well timed piece for DestinationCRM describing how some companies are leveraging predictive analytics to become more competitive. It comes as no surprise that during challenging economic times companies try to be more efficient by making better use of their assets. And what better asset than their internal databases?
I think it is safe to say that by now most companies (large and small) have deployed relational databases and reporting software of varying sophistication. This reporting tools have been asked to answer questions about historical events. Questions about 'what happened', about 'the impact (how much, how many, how often)' and even more specific questions that require drilling down to granular levels of information to understand where exactly the event took place (place, product, point in time). Some more advanced companies have even deployed alerting systems to be notified as soon as certain conditions occur. The natural next step to develop competitive advantages is to deploy analytic solutions that can predict and optimize future events.
This conclusion might seem obvious to many. Christopher's article includes the results of a survey where more than 50% of the respondents intend to deploy predictive analytics in the next 6 months. Predictive Analytics can bring many benefits but effective deployment is no easy task. The software cost, skills shortage and infrastructure complexity can be significant barriers to entry. Not to mention the necessary changes in culture and business processes.
Traditionally, the successful deployment of predictive analytical solutions has been reserved to a handful of large companies with vast resources. It is nice to see organizations like USTA succeeding with these projects. I believe this is a sign of things to come. I think the intersection of Cloud Computing and predictive analytics will create new possibilities for powerful and accessible insight.