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- Bill Franks [sharethis]

In the past few months, in addition to my usual travel around the United States, I have had the pleasure of visiting both Europe and Asia to meet with customers and discuss analytics and big data. It was very interesting to me how similar the conversations were regardless of where I was in the world. Everyone wants to know what other parts of the world are doing with analytics. People always assume others are ahead of them and are doing more exciting things with data. In reality, most organizations around the world that follow a similar business model are doing the same types of analytics for the same reasons.

The fact is that math, statistics, analytics, and data don’t really speak a given language or belong to a specific culture. They are more universal in nature. A trend graph in China will look exactly the same as a trend graph in Spain. An average will be computed in India the same way as an average in Germany. A transaction record in Japan will have the same information as a transaction record in Brazil.

On top of that, businesses really are far more similar than they are different. A wireless company in Asia is providing the same services as a wireless company in North America. A retailer in Europe is providing the same services as a retailer in South America. As a result, many of the business problems are the same as well. The same business problems invariably lead to the same data and analysis needs.

The net result is that we have businesses of a similar nature around the globe capturing data of a similar nature for a similar purpose. The business problems that need addressed are also similar. So, the analytics themselves end up being very similar. It really is true that big data and analytics are global in nature.

Of course, there can be differences. Most notably, regulatory environments and cultural customs may cause deviations from the norm for a given country. Usually these deviations will be incremental, however, and won’t completely change the fundamental problems and approaches.

Take Advantage

The moral of this story is that an organization should take comfort in the fact that its peers around the globe are solving the same problems and facing the same issues that it is. This means that terrific case studies, lessons, and best practices can be searched for more widely than many assume.

Better yet, a company on the other side of the globe is probably much happier to share information with you than one that you compete with locally. Consider setting out to befriend some peers from another country. It may be intimidating and uncomfortable at first, but once you realize how much you have in common, it will be easy for friendships and sharing to take hold.

It isn’t that I ever assumed that approaches to big data and analytics would be different around the globe. However, I never had the opportunity to interact with so many different organizations dispersed around the world in such close succession. I found myself surprised at how very similar the conversations were. It makes total sense, but it took the opportunity to experience it first hand to hammer it home for me. Hopefully this blog will help you take time to consider how you can benefit from acknowledging the global nature of analytics and big data.

Originally published by the International Institute for Analytics

Linda Musthaler About the Author
Bill Franks is Chief Analytics Officer for Teradata’s global alliance programs, providing insight on trends in the Advanced Analytics space and helping clients understand how Teradata and its analytic partners can support their efforts. Bill also oversees the Business Analytic Innovation Center, which is jointly sponsored by Teradata and SAS and focuses on helping clients pursue innovative analytics.  In addition, Bill works to help determine the right strategies and positioning for Teradata in the advanced analytics space.
Bill is the author of the book Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., April, 2012.  In the book, he applies his two decades of experience working with clients on large-scale analytics initiatives to outline what it takes to succeed in today’s world of big data and analytics.  Bill is also a faculty member of the International Institute for Analytics, which was founded by leading analytics expert Tom Davenport.  Bill is an active speaker and blogger.  His blogs and articles can be found at

Bill’s focus has always been to help translate complex analytics into terms that business users can understand and to then help an organization implement the results effectively within their processes.  His work has spanned clients in a variety of industries for companies ranging in size from Fortune 100 companies to small non-profit organizations.

Bill earned a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Statistics from Virginia Tech and a Master’s degree in Applied Statistics from North Carolina State University.

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