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Book Review: The Power to Predict

I recently read The Power to Predict: How Real Time Businesses Anticipate Customer Needs, Create Opportunities, and Beat the Competition by Vivek Ranadive (CEO of Tibco). As I read it I made copious notes in it, as is my wont, but I cannot now find my copy so I am going to try and remember my overall impressions and then update the review if I find my notes. Overall I liked the book - it was readable and well-written. It was a little Tibco-centric and seemed to be written before Vivek had many examples of the kinds of businesses he discusses. He introduces the pressures in the business world pushing companies to be both real-time and increasingly predictive and how a real-time, predictive business can be more successful. This section is the best part of the book, laying out a nice case for change. His set of chapters on specific industries- financial services, telco, logistics, retail and consumer goods, healthcare, energy, and the military are discussed - is much weaker. There is too much on what is forcing change in those industries and not enough on how organizations in those industries can and have changed into real-time, predictive businesses. He ends with some discussion of how to get your business ready for predictive and a little bit of future gazing.

Although he is very focused on the event sense and respond part of this kind of business, all his examples have also automated decisions and are actively managing them. Indeed it is largely through these automated decisions that his examples apply predictive analytics. Many of the examples overlap with those in Competing on Analytics, where the analytics in question are being used as part of deciding how to respond to events. To me it seems clear that a real-time business can only be built if decisions are automated and managed coherently using enterprise decision management. Hooking up these automated decisions to events so as to respond in real-time is also important, but you need to focus on both parts of the puzzle.

You can buy the book here.

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