The Evolution of Competing Using Analytics

David J. Fogarty


Competing using analytics is often heralded as a new concept spurned by advances in high-speed computing, the digital age and the internet. However, evidence for using analytics as the basis for gaining a competitive advantage exists much earlier. In his key paper written in 1953 William Edwards Deming wrote that better quality through the use of statistical techniques can lead to a competitive advantage for firms. He also pointed out that for a more effective use of these techniques, top management should not only become familiar with the results of statistical methods; they should study also the problems of organization by which to achieve a wider and more effective use of these methods.
Similarly, quality guru Joseph Juran also a Deming contemporary noted that the Japanese learned to compete on quality which is something the Americans did not understand until it was too late and they lost market share.

This paper explores Juran’s and Deming’s thoughts on competing on quality and evaluates its usefulness and lessons to the modern post-industrial world and one in which BIG DATA is being collected and used by many firms across a variety of industries in an effort to develop a competitive advantage from the use of statistical analysis. It also debunks the common misconception that competing on analytics is something new and novel which represents a call to action for managers in analytically challenged companies since they will now be under investing in function that has been around for over half a century.

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