The Law of Analytics

It seems everyone is talking about “analytics” and “data science.” These buzzwords have been thrown around to imply that these are new concepts that only started in high-tech.

Before we get lost in the hype, let’s bring the conversation back to basics and understand what analytics truly is.

Analytics is simply using numbers and data points to add value to a business, something that has been done for hundreds of years.

To borrow an analogy, let’s think of analytics as a toll bridge.

As a passenger, you couldn’t care less whether it was made of carbon fiber, steel, wood, or bamboo. Just as long as it gets you to the other side.

It doesn’t matter if the bridge looks like this.


Or this.


Get me to the other side.

There’s one law of analytics: give me insight that helps my company succeed.

When we talk about Python vs. R, SQL vs. NoSQL, or any other debate, don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

Analytics is about business application. An ice cream store surveying a thousand customers with paper-and-pencil is data science just as much as a tech company’s petabyte Hadoop cluster.

At the end of the day, what insight can you gain and what story can you tell?