New Analysis Formula Still Can’t Predict Future

We’ve had management by objective and total quality management. Now it’s time for the latest trend in business methodology: management by data.


The success of enterprises as diverse as Harrah’s Entertainment, Google, Capital One Financial and the Oakland A’s has inspired case studies, books and consultants promising to help executives outpace rivals by collecting more information and analyzing it better.

诸如哈拉斯娱乐公司,Google, 第一资本金融公司和奥克兰运动家队等,这些企业的成功激励人们进行案例学习,这些研究案例的书籍和咨询公司许诺将通过更好的剖析和收集获取更多有价值的信息,来帮助企业执行官超越竞争对手。

There is much to be said for the approach. Guided by Chief Executive Gary Loveman, a former Harvard Business School professor, Harrah’s rethought customer incentives, adjusted slot-machine payouts, and poured money into hiring and retaining top-notch employees. Its shares are up more than fourfold in the past decade and the company has agreed to a $17 billion buyout by private-equity firms.

在前哈佛商学院教授,目前为哈拉斯娱乐公司首席执行官,Gary Loveman的领导下,哈拉斯反思顾客动机,调整老虎机的支出,投入大量资金于雇佣和维持高水平雇员的工资。经过这些管理改革之后,在过去的十年里它的股票上涨超过原来的四倍,公司已经同意由私人股权投资公司以170亿美元全部买下。

Google has outdistanced Yahoo, Microsoft and others by tweaking both its Internet-search algorithm to provide better and faster results, and its formula that determines what ads are displayed alongside search results. This virtuous circle draws both more Web surfers and more advertisers.

Google的搜索算法能提供更好更快捷的搜索结果,其搜索程式,可以确定在搜索结果旁显示哪些广告。这使Google遥遥领先于Yahoo, Microsoft, 和其他的公司。这种良性循环的方式吸引着更多的网民和广告商。

In many cases, analyzing data would be an improvement over prior management techniques, which Stanford business professor Robert Sutton derides as “faith, fear, superstition and mindless imitation.” Mr. Sutton is co-author of “Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths & Total Nonsense,” one of several recent tributes to the data-driven enterprise.

很多情况下,数据分析较以前的管理技术而言是一种改进。斯坦福大学商业学教授Robert Sutton嘲弄以前的管理是信念,恐惧,迷信和没有头脑的仿效。他是《真相,危险的半真相和胡言乱语:从管理实践经验中获益》的作者之一,这本书推崇以数据推动企业的管理,是为数不多的倡导数据管理理念的新作。

Running a complex enterprise can’t be reduced to a spreadsheet, however. Even the most detailed statistical analysis has limitations, as Mr. Sutton acknowledges.


For one, conditions may change, rendering the analysis misleading. Thomas H. Davenport, a management professor at Babson College and co-author of “Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning,” says such change helps explain why so many sophisticated lenders and investors have gotten burned by the downturn in subprime mortgages. For years, default rates followed a predictable pattern based on the borrower’s credit score. Last year, that pattern changed slightly and many lenders didn’t adjust.

例如,外界情况变化会导致误导性分析。Babson College(巴不森学院注:创业管理学全美排名第一,也是国际最高水平)管理学教授Thomas H. Davenport说,他也是《竞争分析学:获胜的新科学》作者之一,这种改变有助于说明为什么如此多精明的放款者和投资者陷于次级抵押贷款低迷时期。多年来,违约率是根据借款者的信用记录为基础的预测模式得出的。去年,模型稍有变动,但是很多放款者没有调整。

Jeffrey Pfeffer, Mr. Sutton’s colleague and co-author, offers a more insidious pitfall: Managers can be so focused on perfecting today’s business that they lose sight of tomorrow’s.

Sutton先生的同事,Jeffrey Pfeffer,也是这本书的合作者,提出企业管理潜伏着陷阱:管理者们全力关注于使眼前的企业事务趋于完美,以至于忽略了企业未来的发展。

The tension between the short term and the long term is familiar to managers. Other research suggests that quality-focused approaches may reduce defects, but hamper innovation.


That helps explain why companies seem invulnerable one minute and aimless the next. For a decade, Dell captured an increasing share of sales and profits in the PC industry by mastering supply-chain logistics. But Dell couldn’t diversify its business, making it vulnerable once Hewlett-Packard matched its expertise.


The real trick, then, is to combine these skills, gaining advantage by analyzing today’s problems while looking creatively for tomorrow’s opportunities.


Google, the company that tracks every user keystroke on its Web site, also frees its engineers to spend 20% of their work time on self-directed projects. That has given birth to such programs as Google News, Gmail and, most significantly, AdSense for content, which places Google-brokered ads on other Web sites.

互联网用户都登陆过Google的网站,Google这个公司允许员工20%的工作时间用于自主性项目。因此诞生了Google新闻服务Gmail, 还有其最引人注目的服务-与内容相关的关键字广告联盟,使得Google代理的广告能够放在其他网站上。

Dave Girouard, vice president and general manager of the Google unit building software for businesses, encourages his several hundred employees to use their self-directed time. “A lot of analytical stuff will give you incremental improvement, but it won’t give you a big leap,” he says. “You can’t time or plan for innovation. It can’t come from customer data. It has to come from the heart of somebody with an idea.”

Google副总裁兼企事业部经理,Dave Girouard,鼓励他的几百个员工自己主导时间。他说:很多分析性的东西会给你增量的改进,但不会带来质的飞跃。你不能计划或者算计什么时间创新,它不是从客户资料那里得来,而是来自于有思想的人物的内心。

Gil Cloyd might quarrel with that notion. Mr. Cloyd is chief technology officer of Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s largest consumer-product makers. P&G monitors supply chains and market-research data as closely as any company. Its in-house technology group is called “information and decision solutions.”

Gil Cloyd先生,宝洁公司的技术总监,可能会对此观念持有异议。作为世界上最大的消费品生产制造商,宝洁公司监控着相近公司的产品供应链和市场调研资料。它内部的技术团队被称为信息与决策解决方案

But P&G also needs new products, and improvements on old products, to survive. After an earnings slip sent its shares plunging by half in early 2000, P&G set out to revive and refashion its innovation pipeline. Among other changes, the company looked more aggressively to outsiders.


To Mr. Cloyd, innovation should be measured the way P&G evaluates other parts of its business. He monitors the investment return on P&G’s research spending, and compares research spending to company sales.


Just as there’s no universal approach to innovation, it seems, there’s no single formula for business success.





Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com 徽标

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  更改 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  更改 )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  更改 )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  更改 )


Connecting to %s

%d 博主赞过: