Enterprise Analytics: Optimize Performance, Process and Decisions Through Big Data

Thomas H. Davenport, editor, FT Press, 2012, 288 pp., $44.99 (book).

Davenport’s career as a thought leader and business process analyst allows him to continue pushing the envelope by identifying trends in big data and integrating those with a future. With corporate backing, he formed the International Institute for Analytics where extensive research is performed to understand big data, its impact and current position in the industry.

The book is divided into five parts consisting of 18 chapters. The book starts with an overview of big data and proceeds with applications, technologies, the human side and case studies. Big data are characterized as "data that are either too voluminous or too unstructured to be managed and analyzed through traditional means." This is a challenge and an opportunity to get a complete view of your customers by linking and projecting needs from computer clicks.

In part four, the discussion turns to how big data analysts could be structured in organizations. The challenge is to leverage their knowledge and generate value, defining roles and responsibilities and governance in different-sized organizations. Part five presents some insightful case studies and the organizations’ journeys.

This book outlines the terminology and importance of dealing with big data and its impact on being competitive. It is the pathway to future management thinking. All leaders and corporate officers should read this book to understand the future and develop their action plans accordingly.

Bill Baker
Speed to Excellence
Santa Fe, NM

Advancing the STEM Agenda: Quality Improvement Supports STEM

Cindy P. Veenstra, Fernando F. Padró and Julie A. Furst-Bowe, edittors, ASQ Quality Press, 2012, 304 pp., $38 member, $63 list (book).

This book presents insights, operational suggestions for programs and guidance in moving a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) curriculum forward. The book is a collection of selected papers from the July 2011 ASQ Education Division conference on Advancing the STEM Agenda in Education, the Workplace and Society. Papers selected from the conference present perspectives about STEM, strategies for implementation and suggestions for bridging the gap between the workplace and educational programs.

Value from this book can be derived from the reports by the authors of individual papers on their strategies and tactics working with a STEM agenda, overcoming challenges, assessing learner and program outcomes, and preparing for follow-steps. The editors of this collection of papers offer a concluding chapter bringing forward a summary and recommendations. As a resource, the book is well-organized and offers effective section headings to guide the reader. There is also a useful author and subject index.

The STEM agenda is considered a continuing initiative and not a trial curriculum. This content can be used by those in the K-12 school programs as well as academic programs in colleges and universities. The academic areas of interest relate to the subject fields and the pedagogical explorations related to teaching learning programs.

Jerry Brong
Ellensburg, WA

Standard Work for Lean Healthcare

Thomas L. Jackson, editor, Productivity Press, 2011, 124 pp., $29.95 (book).

Standard work is one of the fundamental concepts in lean, and this book explains how it can be applied and implemented in a healthcare setting. The book has seven chapters that cover the definition of standard work and its applications in healthcare.

The book is readable with margin assists that delineate sections with examples, key points and how-to steps. Given that this book’s intended reader is someone learning lean methods, the margin assists are good aids.

In addition, the how-to sections of the book go into great detail on how to fill the charts, such as the standard work sheet, percentage load chart, standard work combination sheet and the standard work instruction sheet.

Overall, this book is worthwhile for anyone who is interested in implementing standard work in a healthcare setting.

Brian Cocolicchio
New City, NY

How to Audit the Process-Based QMS

Dennis R. Arter, Charles A. Cianfrani and John E. (Jack) West, ASQ Quality Press, 2012, 208 pp., $44 member, $72 (book, second edition).

I had the pleasure of reviewing the first edition of this book. At that time, I believed it was a good source of information for those who needed to understand the basics of auditing and how to set up an audit program at their organization. But for quality practitioners, I suggested they continue searching for the process to audit the process approach. As with a lot of things, time helps us mature and continuously improve. This is true of the book’s second edition.

The authors have hit the mark with this book. They are direct and frank in their approach to auditing. Auditing is about understanding requirements, looking for opportunities for improvement and best practices, asking questions, gathering information, analyzing what is seen and heard, forming opinions, and reaching conclusions. And believe it or not, they do a good job of explaining how to do it all.

The book is not lengthy and doesn’t go into a great deal of explanation on every subject, but it does deliver on the purpose and value of the internal audit process. I would recommend this book to all personnel either managing or performing audits. And unlike the first edition, you can stop searching.

Wayne Sander
Dove Quality Consulting
Dousman, WI

The Spirit of Kaizen: Creating Lasting Excellence One Small Step at a Time

Robert Maurer, McGraw-Hill Professional, 2012, 176 pp., $22 (book).

Maurer presents a relatively brief—but powerful—explanation of how the weighty principles of kaizen can help ensure significant and lasting change in an organization.

Following a succinct introduction to kaizen, Maurer explains how to implement his baby-step approach to dealing with typical managerial challenges. These include boosting morale, cutting costs, improving quality and service, developing new products, increasing sales and reducing healthcare expenses. He further connects with managers by frequently relating the discussion to actual business situations or past clients.

Maurer’s relatively short work emphasizes the key points that are nicely presented in language that any reader will find helpful. This book is recommended for anyone new to kaizen, as well as internal kaizen leaders in any organization.

Dale Farris
Groves, TX

Recent Releases

Permission to Forget, 10th Anniversary Edition: And Nine Other Root Causes of America’s Frustration with Education
Lee Jenkins, ASQ Quality Press, 2013, 210 pp., $30 member, $51 list (book).

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