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When learning about the tools and techniques of Business Statistics, it’s important to not to approach this in an “abstract” or “academic” way. The discipline has evolved to bring real-world solutions to real-world problems. Organizations that have successfully implemented data analysis methodologies have often realized significant improvements in performance. In some cases, these improvements have turned them from a path to bankruptcy to a position of market leadership.
Our understanding of the benefits of sound statistical practices is strengthened when we study such examples. There is also much to be learned from studying organizations that were unable to adequately address data analysis challenges and have suffered losses in market share or profitability because of that.
Further, having real-world examples to draw on cannot only help us frame our own business improvement efforts, but can also provide sources of illustration and inspiration for our teams, as we lead them in their pursuit of business excellence.
1. Find a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (or other reputable news source) that discusses an data analysis win or challenge that a company has gone through which has had a significant impact on its business. Focus on one of the topics we are covering that week. In selecting your article:
a. Do not limit your search to organizations in any particular sector. Remember that best practices are everywhere if you are willing to look for them.
b. Identify the wins/challenges that connect to one of the topics we are covering in the upcoming week.
c. You may select the same organization for your submissions or you may select a different organization for your submissions.
2. Write a brief introductory “executive summary” identifying the organization, the challenge and the current state of affairs. Remember to include a link to the article for easy reference.
a. Explain which statistical practice this article is most closely associated with
b. Summarize the problem and the impact that the tools had (or could have had) in addressing it
Explain how this example can be used as a lesson in your own organization to either point to an area of opportunity for a similar win, or to warn of a potential risk that could have significant impact on your business, if left unaddressed.