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Business analytics to boost competitiveness

Thursday, January 16, 2014
Panelists, from left, Simon Aqui, general manager of IBM, T&T; Richard Lewis, chairman, Council for Competitiveness and Innovation; moderator Keith Thomas, Executive in Residence and Research, Centre for Business Analytics and Intelligence, Lok Jack GSB; Ian John, senior manager, Illumunat, and Trevor Dean executive vice president, TSTT. Photo: ANDRE ALEXANDER

T&T needs to enhance productivity as a means of increasing its global competitiveness. However, according to the latest Global Competitiveness Report, “traditional sources of competitiveness gains have been exhausted, and there is need to investigate the ways in which we can break this stagnation”. 



Michelle Cross Fenty, country representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), says the answer is effective use of business intelligence and analytics, coupled with improved strategic planning, decision making and business processes. 



“In today’s business environment, which is characterised by rapid, frequent and often disruptive changes, and where businesses have to be more responsive to increasingly demanding customers and to other stakeholders, firms need apprioriate decision support infrastructures in order to maintain and improve their competitive edge,” she said. 



Cross Fenty’s comments came during a session yesterday at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business where Phase One of a report, Increasing Competitiveness through Business Analytics, was released. Speaking ahead of a panel discussion on the topic, she highlighted the IDB’s support for a technical co-operation project to promote use of business analytics tools by companies to improve their decision making and business processes.


Cross Fenry noted that T&T ranked 92 out of 148 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Report. She added that in Latin American and the Caribbean countries suffer from low levels of productivity and slow productivity growth rates. “Furthermore, the report showed that most countries are stagnating in their competitiveness performance,” she said. 



Cross Fenty said she hoped “local firms would increasingly leverage information provided through business analytics to find ways to deliver better business outcomes, increase revenue, lower costs and reduce risk, thus increasing their overall competitiveness”. She said she was confident the project would positively impact T&T’s competitiveness. Once completed, she added, the IDB has “a high interest in looking for opportunities to disseminate the knowledge that will come out of this project”.


Business analytics involves using data, statistical and quantitative analysis, explanatory and predictive models and fact-based management to drive decisions and actions. However, research shows that locally there is minimal use of business analytics in decision-making, although data from the international arena shows a link between competitiveness, business analytics and increasing levels of business analytics adoption.


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