Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Data or Analysis or Innovation : Which is competitive advantage?

HBR blog has an interesting post arguing the case that competitive advantage comes from better data and not from analysis

Here assumption is that analysis has become commodity and data is scarce. This is an interesting U turn from earlier common belief that data is commodity and analysis is scarce.

The reasons are understandable. The MBA has now slowly become as Master of Business Analysis and as MBA factories generate more and more Analysts, and technology is automating analysis functions the Analysis is tending towards commodity. Point well taken!

One thing I am finding missing in this data and analysis discussion is Innovation. What kind of data will be scarce and give competitive advantage is as much function of innovative thinking as what kind of new analysis will give competitive advantage.

"Does wearing a red wristband on Tuesday gives one a competitive advantage?" is innovative hypothesis and to prove or discard this will require a database of color of wristbands of players on various days. If teams already have this database but has been overlooked then only analysis can give competitive advantage, otherwise generating a new database of color wrist bands will give one a competitive advantage.

So innovative thinking gives competitive advantage but it often gets lost in discussion between data and analysis ( where both sides are true depending upon circumstances)

Btw, Tuesday is the day of Mars and Red is the color of Mars so according to astrology, wearing red on Tuesday should give one a competitive advantage but I don't have data set to prove or discard this !!