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Analytical thinking: strategies for success

We recently had the pleasure of hosting Greg Nelson, CEO and founder of the healthcare analytics company, ThotWave (also a JMP partner) on Analytically Speaking. Greg also teaches analytics at the nursing and business schools at Duke University and has recently authored the book, The Analytics Lifecycle Toolkit: A Practical Guide for an Effective Analytics Capability.   




nelson_book.pngGreg was kind enough to share an early copy of his book, which I found uniquely informative. With so many books for the analytically minded, not many factor people, process, and organizational culture in to the extent this one does. The book is well-organized and reflects Greg’s years of experience, wisdom, and best practices from his familiarity with the data-to-information continuum. 

John Sall, the chief architect of JMP and Executive VP of SAS, has a quote on the book cover:

“This book condenses a lot of deep thinking on the wide field of analytics strategy. Analytics is not easy – there are no quickie AI/BI/ML shortcuts to understanding your data, your business, your processes. You have to build a diverse team of talent. You have to respect the hazards of 'fishing expeditions' that may need false-discovery-rate adjustments. You should consider designed experiments to get the true behavior of a process, something that observational data may hint at, but not provide complete understanding. There are dimensions of data wrangling, feature engineering, and data sense-making that all call for different skills. But with deep investment in analytics comes deep insight into processes and tremendous opportunity for improvements. This book puts analytics in the context of a strategic business system, with all its dimensions.”

Greg shares many valuable ways to make the most of your analytic assets; among these, we discussed:

  • Data for purpose versus data for potential
  • Analytics Lifecycle in support of a decision life cycle
  • Exceptional analytic talent and how to retain it
  • The importance of design thinking
  • Analytics as a strategy to support change

At the end of the day, Greg says, analytics is not just about value creation in terms of time and money. It’s also about learning, gaining insight/understanding, and being more informed to make better decisions — even if the decision is what experiment to implement next. You can hear the full interview at your convenience.

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