Analytics Across the Enterprise

Brenda L. Dietrich / Emily C. Plachy / Maureen F. Norton  
IBM Software Press
Total pages
May 2014
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Analytics Across the Enterprise
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This book demystifies the analytics journey by showing how IBM has successfully leveraged analytics across the enterprise, worldwide. Three of IBM's pioneering analytics practitioners share invaluable real-world perspective on what does and doesn’t work and how to start or accelerate the readers' own transformation. The book provides an essential framework for becoming a smarter enterprise and shows how IBM has driven value from analytics throughout its business.


  • Shows how to systematically infuse science into the art of business decision-making, leveraging today's latest advances in business analytics
  • Reflects powerful lessons learned inside and throughout IBM, as it has pioneered analytics across the enterprise
  • Focuses on one of today's best opportunities to improve competitiveness -- as an executive, manager, student, or organization

Table of Contents

Foreword xix
Preface xxi
Chapter 1: Why Big Data and Analytics?   1

Why IBM Started an Enterprise-Wide Journey to Use Analytics 3
Big Data and Analytics Demystified 4
  Descriptive and Predictive Analytics 5
  Prescriptive Analytics 6
  Social Media Analytics 6
  Entity Analytics 7
  Cognitive Computing 7
  Big Data 8
Why Analytics Matters 9
Governance 10
Proven Approaches 12
Gauging Progress 13
Overview of Nine Journeys 14
Emerging Themes 15
How to Use This Book 17
Endnotes 18
Chapter 2: Creating a Smarter Workforce 21
Perspective: Applying Analytics to the Workforce 21
Challenge: Retaining High-Value Resources in Growth Markets 25
  Outcome: Attrition Rate Declined; Net Benefits Exceeded Expectations 26
Challenge: Gaining an Accurate View of What Employees Are Thinking 26
  Outcome: Ability to Act on Real Insights About Employees 27
Lessons Learned 29
Endnotes 31
Chapter 3: Optimizing the Supply Chain 33
Perspective: Applying Analytics to the Supply Chain 33
Challenge: Detecting Quality Problems Early 36
  Outcome: Significant Cost Savings, Improved Productivity, Improved Brand Value, and Two Awards 38
Challenge: Providing Supply/Demand Visibility and Improved Channel Inventory Management 39
  Outcome: Reduced Price Protection Expense, Reduced Returns, and Two Industry Awards 41
Challenge: Improving the Accounts Receivable Business Process and Collector Productivity 41
  Outcome: Better Visibility to Track the Total Receivables View Across the Entire Collection Process and Reduction in Labor Cost 43
Challenge: Predicting Disruptions in the Supply Chain 43
  Outcome: Number of Listening Events Increased Tenfold and Local Language Listening Proved Valuable 44
Lessons Learned 45
Endnotes 48
Chapter 4: Anticipating the Financial Future 51
Perspective: Big Data and Analytics Increase Value of Finance Team 51
  Getting the Basics in Place 52
  Creating an Analytics Culture 53
Challenge: Attaining Operational Efficiency, Managing Risk, and Informing Decisions 55
  Tracking Spending: The Worldwide Spend Project 55
  Outcome: More Efficient and More Effective Spend Forecasting 57
  Keeping Up with Reporting Requirements: The Accelerated External Reporting (AER) System 58
  Outcome: Improved Statutory and Tax Reporting and Analytics 59
Challenge: Balancing Risk and Reward 59
  Country Financial Risk Scorecard 59
  Outcome: Country Financial Risk Scorecard Uses Big Data to Monitor Trends and Minimize Risk 61
Challenge: Validating Acquisition Strategy 62
  The Mergers and Acquisitions Analytics Project 62
  Outcome: Mergers and Acquisitions Analytics Improves Success Rate 62
  The Smarter Enterprise Enablement (SEE) Initiative 64
  Outcome: SEE Project Transforms Strategic Planning and Its Novel Approach Leads to Patent Applications 64
What’s Next for IBM Finance?   64
Lessons Learned 65
Endnotes 66
Chapter 5: Enabling Analytics Through Information Technology 67
Perspective: Applying Analytics to IT and Enabling Big Data and Analytics Across an Enterprise 67
Challenge: Deciding When to Modernize Servers 69
  Outcome: Increase in Application Availability 70
Challenge: Detecting Security Incidents 71
  Outcome: Increased Detection of Security Incidents 71
Enabling the Transformation to a Smarter Enterprise 71
  Developing Enterprise-Wide Big Data and Analytics Applications 71
  Partnering with Business Areas to Develop Social Media Analytic Solutions for Customer-Centric Outcomes 73
  Developing an Information Agenda and Processes for Governance and Security of Data 73
  Providing a Big Data and Analytics Infrastructure 76
Lessons Learned 77
Endnotes 78
Chapter 6: Reaching Your Market 81
Perspective: Using Analytics to Reach and Engage with Clients 81
  A Signature Client Experience 83
  Marketing-Related Analytics Hiring Soaring 84
  Agility Is Key 84
Challenge: Developing the Data Foundation and Analytics Capability to Enable a Signature Client Experience 85
  Outcome: Individual Data Master to Provide Client-Level Insights 87
Challenge: Providing a Real-Time View into Effectiveness of Marketing Actions: Performance Management 87
  Outcome: Marketing Efficiencies Realized and Transformation of Marketing Enabled 88
Challenge: Going Beyond Correlation to Determine Causal Effects of Marketing Actions 90
  Outcome: System Deals with Special Terms and Conditions Added Grew from 67% to 98% over Three Quarters 90
Challenge: Tapping into Analytics Passion to Provide New Insights to Inform IBM’s Digital Strategy 92
  Outcome: Insights from Diverse Teams Provided the Evidence Needed to Make Changes to the Digital Strategy 93
Lessons Learned 94
Endnotes 94
Chapter 7: Measuring the Immeasurable 97
Perspective: Software Development Organization Optimizes the Highly Skilled Workforce 97
Challenge: Creating a Common View of Development Expense to Enable Decision Making 99
  Development Expense Baseline Project 99
  Outcome: Development Expense Baseline Project Proves That the Immeasurable Can Be Measured 105
Lessons Learned 105
Endnotes 106
Chapter 8: Optimizing Manufacturing 107
Perspective: Applying Analytics to Manufacturing and Product Management 107
Challenge: Scheduling a Complex Manufacturing Process in a Semiconductor Fab 108
  Outcome: Reduced Production Times 111
Challenge: Enhancing Yield in the Manufacturing of Semiconductors 111
  Outcome: Cost Savings Due to Yield Improvement 112
Challenge: Reducing the Time to Detect Aberrant Events 113
  Outcome: Engineers Take Action 114
Challenge: Simplifying the Hardware Product Portfolio 115
  Outcome: Significant Reduction of Hardware Product Portfolio 116
Lessons Learned 117
Endnotes 117
Chapter 9: Increasing Sales Performance 121
Perspective: Using Analytics to Optimize Sales Performance--Inside and Out 121
  How IBM Approached Leveraging Analytics in Sales Organizations 122
  Using Analytics to Build a Business Case for Inside Sales 123
Challenge: Deploying Sellers for Maximum Revenue Growth by Account 124
  Outcome: Increased Sales Performance 126
Challenge: Deploying Sellers Within a Territory 126
  Outcome: Increased Territory Performance 127
Challenge: Determining the Optimal Sales Coverage Investment by Account 128
  Outcome: Increased Revenue and Increased Productivity 130
Online Commerce 130
Challenge: Creating a Smarter Commerce B2B Solution to Drive Cross-Company Efficiencies 132
  Outcome: An Analytics-Based, Client-Focused Business Case Wins Approval 133
Lessons Learned 135
Endnotes 137
Chapter 10: Delivering Services with Excellence 139
Perspective: Leveraging Analytics in a Services Business 139
Challenge: Developing New Business 141
  Outcome: Increased Signings, Revenue, and Pipeline 142
Challenge: Predicting Risk of Contracts 142
  Outcome: Deployment of Financial Risk Analytics 143
Challenge: Optimizing Workforce Performance 143
  Outcome: Large Cost Savings, Improved Productivity, and Faster Client Response Times 147
Challenge: Getting Early Warning About Problems 147
  Outcome: Timely Intelligence to Delivery Teams to Help Satisfy Clients 148
Lessons Learned 148
Endnotes 149
Chapter 11: Reflections and a Look to the Future 151
The Journey Continues 151
Reflections 153
  Transactional Data 155
  Simulation 156
  Alerts 157
  Forecasting 158
The Future 159
  Growth of Data 160
  Unstructured Data 161
  Cognitive Computing 163
Endnotes 164
Appendix A: Big Data and Analytics Use Cases 165
Glossary: Acronyms and Definitions of Key Big Data and Analytics Terms 175
Index 183


Dr. Brenda L. Dietrich is an IBM Fellow and Vice President. She joined IBM in 1984 and has worked in the area now called analytics for her entire career. Her early work involved applying mathematical models to improve the performance of IBM manufacturing lines. During her career, she has worked with almost every IBM business unit and applied analytics to numerous IBM decision processes. For more than a decade, she led the Mathematical Sciences function in the IBM Research division, where she was responsible for both basic research on computational mathematics and for the development of novel applications of mathematics for both IBM and its clients. In addition to her work within IBM, she has been the president of INFORMS, the world’s largest professional society for operations research and management sciences, she is an INFORMS Fellow, and she has received multiple service awards from INFORMS. She has served on the board of trustees of SIAM and on several university advisory boards. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. She holds more than a dozen patents, has co-authored numerous publications, and frequently speaks on analytics at conferences. She holds a BS in mathematics from UNC and an MS and PhD in operations research/information engineering from Cornell. Her personal research includes manufacturing scheduling, services resource management, transportation logistics, integer programming, and combinatorial duality. She currently leads the emerging technologies team in the IBM Watson group.

Dr. Emily C. Plachy is a Distinguished Engineer in Business Analytics Transformation, responsible for leading an increased use of analytics across IBM. She has integrated data analysis into her work throughout her career. Since joining IBM in 1982, she has held a number of technical leadership roles including CTO, Process, Methods, and Tools in IBM Global Business Services (GBS), providing architecture and technology leadership and driving the adoption of consistent methods and tools in GBS, and CTO, Enterprise Integration, GBS, providing architecture and technology leadership. She has also held a variety of roles in IBM, including development, ad tech, research, emerging business opportunities, technical sales, and services. Her technology skills include data integration, enterprise integration, solution architecture, software development, and asset reuse. She has experience in multiple industries, including banking, consumer products, retail, telecommunications, healthcare, and petroleum. She has a BS degree in applied mathematics from Washington University, an MSc degree in computer science from the University of Waterloo, and a DSc degree in computer science from Washington University. In 1992, Emily was elected to the IBM Academy of Technology, a body of approximately 1,000 of IBM’s top technical leaders, and she served as its President from 2009 to 2011. She has been a long-term champion of women in technology. She is a member of Women in Technology International, the Society of Women Engineers, and INFORMS. Emily lives in New York with her husband, Tony. She is on Twitter @eplachy and on LinkedIn at

Maureen Fitzgerald Norton, MBA, JD, is a Distinguished Market Intelligence Professional and Executive Program Manager in Business Analytics Transformation, responsible for driving the widespread use of analytics across IBM. She pioneered the development of an outcome-focused communications strategy to drive the culture change needed for analytics adoption. Maureen created analytics case studies and innovative learning exercises for teaching analytics. She co-created an innovative analytics workshop and taught MBA students in Europe and the Middle East. In her previous role, Maureen led project teams applying analytics to IBM Smarter Planet initiatives in public safety, global social services, commerce, and merchandising, specializing in cost/benefit analysis and return on investment of analytic projects. Maureen became the first woman in IBM to earn the designation of Distinguished Market Intelligence Professional for developing innovative approaches to solving business issues and knowledge gaps through analysis. She has held a number of analytic and management roles in IBM. She earned BA and MBA degrees from the University of New Haven and a JD degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law. She is a licensed attorney and did her thesis on the legal implications of artificial intelligence. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, Dr. William Norton, and three children, Erin, Colleen, and William. She is a dual citizen of the United States and Ireland. In addition to Analytics Across the Enterprise, Maureen has published “The Benefits of Social Media Analytics 2013” with the IBM Academy of Technology and “Social Media Analytics: Measuring Value Across Enterprises and Industries” in the Journal of Management Systems. Maureen is on Twitter @mfnorton and on LinkedIn at

Reader Review(s)

“Few major high-tech companies eat their own dog food. But give IBM credit: It practices what it preaches. This book provides an inside look at how IBM has applied analytics to nine business functions, the lessons it has learned, and the value it has derived. This book is valuable for anyone in a large company who wants to know how to apply analytics profitably.”
--Wayne Eckerson, Principal Consultant, Eckerson Group, and author, Secrets of Analytical Leaders: Insights from Information Insiders

Analytics Across the Enterprise shows how even the most complex enterprise can transform itself with analytics. A powerful collection of real-world projects shows that using analytics to improve decisions, especially operational decisions, drives efficiency and innovation. The stories in this very readable book show the importance of actually taking action, not just developing insight; of caring about the end user context, not just the model; of gaining buy-in and managing organizational change; and much more. A great guide for anyone transforming their own organization with analytics.”
--James Taylor, author, Decision Management Systems: A Practical Guide to Using Business Rules and Predictive Analytics (IBM Press)

Analytics Across the Enterprise is the only book on analytics written by three world-class experts ‘standing on the shoulders of a giant’ analytics powerhouse: an impressive first-hand account of nine breakthrough analytic journeys from 70 top executives and practitioners, the largest private math department in the world, and a leading consulting think tank. This is an unprecedented tour de force showing how a best-of-breed analytics company revolutionized its own business model.”
--Goncalo Pacheco de Almeida, Associate Professor of Strategy, Head of the Business Analytics Initiative, and Academic Director of the MBA Strategy Specialization, HEC Paris Business School and the French National Scientific Research Center-HEC Lab

“A thoughtfully written collection of stories from within IBM, with proven techniques that are valuable for all current and future business leaders. IBM has been doing analytics since before it was ‘cool’ and, for the first time, shares an inside look at the very pragmatic, inspiring approach complete with lessons learned. Analytics Across the Enterprise not only changes the game, it explains how to win.”
--Lawrence G. Singleton, PhD, CPA, Dean, School of Management, Professor of Accounting and International Business, Marist College

“Organizations are awash in data. Many have transformed this data into information, yet few have identified patterns of insight from this information. A rare number of organizations can take the insight to action, but even fewer can create a pathway from data to decisions. In Analytics Across the Enterprise, Dietrich, Plachy, and Norton definitively chronicle what it takes to apply big data and analytics in the transformation of enterprises. The results: Successful leaders create competitive advantage in smarter workforces, optimized supply chains, and predictable sales performance. Organizations will learn how to move not only from gut-feel intuition but also to powerful fact-based decision making.”
--R “Ray” Wang, Principal Analyst and Founder, Constellation Research, Inc.

“The growing demand for analytics is a priority for business and IT to collaborate on the processes and technology required to gain the insights to guide organizations to be effective. This book helps organizations gain a perspective on what operating analytics across the enterprise is all about and most importantly why it is crucial across lines of business where the outcomes can be achieved from making continuous investments.”
--Mark Smith, CEO and Chief Research Officer, Ventana Research

“Glimpses of the IBM vision of the future for analytics have regularly appeared in the literature, and now for the first time we have a comprehensive inside account of how IBM uses advanced analytics to compete globally. Using examples from many functions (HR, marketing, finance, supply chain), this book provides a fascinating view of IBM as an intensively data-driven corporation. Senior executives familiar with analytics and data applications will find many ideas in this book on how they can harness analytics to improve their corporation’s performance. Executives less familiar with analytics may experience some ‘shock and awe’ in reading how far data- and analytics-driven corporations have progressed and what formidable competitors they have become.”
--Peter C. Bell, Professor, Management Science, Ivey Business School at Western University

Analytics Across the Enterprise is a live chronicle of how the practice of analytics transcends the business functional boundaries and how it benefits all the business functions.”
--Dr. Adam Fadlalla, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Information Systems, College of Business and Economics, Qatar University

“The use of data and analytics to generate value is a journey for all organizations: a journey of technology, operational self-awareness, and culture. The joy and challenge of data and analytics is that it is difficult, and as such, it is a source of sustainable competitive value. This book tells the story of the journey of adoption of analytics for IBM and how we became a company driven by data and analytics. It explores the technical and mathematical complexities of the journey, the different business use cases, and the value it delivered to our clients, our employees, and our shareholders.”
--Fred Balboni, Global Managing Partner, Strategy and Analytics, Global Business Services, IBM Corporation