Competing on analytics
Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris stress the fact that "for companies to sustain a competitive advantage, analytics must be applied judiciously, executed well, and continually renewed" (p. 48). Ideally analytical capabilites should be hard to duplicate, unique, adaptable to many situations, better than the competion and renewable. While analytics are quite powerful the authors leave no doubt that there are still limitations, e.g. "even when fully automating a decision process is possible, fiduciary, legal, or ethical issues may still require a responsible person to play an active role" (p. 151).
In chapter 4 the authors provide many useful examples how competing on analytics applies to financial, manufacturing, R&D, and human resource applications and processes. In the second part of their book they explain how to establish "Analytical Capability" without getting too technical, e.g. explaining the ETL (Extraction, Transformation, Load) process or data warehousing details.