Every industry has the potential of being transformed by the innovative combination of analytics and modern IT. The question many boards of directors are asking is \u2013 \u201cif analytics is such a game-changer, if the disruptive potential of collecting and analyzing massive amounts of data is so powerful, why aren\u2019t we getting the benefits?\u201d\nIf every enterprise has the same opportunity of creating competitive differentiation \u2026 if we have at our fingertips all the tools necessary to create \u201cunmatchable\u201d separation, to use the words of Geoffrey Moore, author of Escape Velocity \u2026 if we can \u201ceviscerate the competition\u201d via the informed application of advanced analytics \u2013 my words \u2013- why aren\u2019t more enterprises doing so?\nIn our current decade, the enabling technology is not one technology but a combination of technologies. When one combines all the data made available by cheap sensors and social media, the cheap computing power of the cloud and the easy accessibility of mobile with real-time analytics \u2013 one has all the ingredients of a strategy capable of \u201crendering the competition irrelevant.\u201d This, according to Moshe Rubinstein, professor emeritus of creative problem solving at UCLA and author of The Minding Organization, should be the objective of the CIO.\nThe Search for VillainsWe humans love villains. We like to think that bad things are directly attributable to the bad behavior of bad people. This is a preferred narrative technique in Hollywood, detective novels, and \u2013 increasingly \u2013 American foreign policy white papers. It is frequently the default trope driving many business stories [See Target data breach]. I talked to 100+ C-level executives in sixteen vertical markets examining how value is created\/how value is destroyed in the advanced analytics space. I asked, \u201cIs there a villain behind the failure to capture value from analytics?\u201d\nIs the CFO Value Villain #1?A \u201cperson of interest\u201d frequently appearing in any value-crime line-up is the Chief Financial Officer [CFO]. CFOs are reluctant to fund things they don\u2019t understand. Empirically, one finds a bias on the part of CFOs toward funding projects focused on improving the status quo. This, despite the fact, as Stephen Kutzer, the charismatic and very value-savvy CIO at the Atlanta Zoo, shared with 40 CIO colleagues attending the Value Studio [http:\/\/goo.gl\/4V4LQ7], that in the IT realm, \u201cdoing the same thing better is almost always a waste of money.\u201d Kutzer is not saying that better is bad. He is saying that investing in better \u2013 along a known trajectory in today\u2019s environment - is frequently subject to diminishing returns. Stephen charts \u201cbenefits realized by the enterprise\u201d against \u201cmoney spent.\u201d True advantage lies not in playing the game better, but in playing a different game. CFOs appear to have trouble understanding this. Advanced analytics can change the game.\nAs one CIO at a very much in-the-news retailer explained to me:\nLet\u2019s say that you purchase three companies and you have to consolidate the distribution channel. A very predictable conversation with the CFO will involve funding a new distribution management system. The CFO is going to go, \u201cThat sounds right. Here is the $52 million you need to do that.\u201d But if you walk in to the CFO and say, \u201cLook, I have got untold value sitting out there if I can tap into our own data.\u201d The CFO will ask, \u201cHow is that going to work?\u201d The analytic advocate responds \u201cI will discover the value on the road. Just trust me.\u201d The CFO says, \u201cI have heard this so many times. Get out of my office. In fact, I am going to throw things at you if you don\u2019t get out of my office.\u201d\nLack of Awareness \u2013 A Villain You Can\u2019t Convict But Can CorrectThe CFO is not the only C-Suiter having troubles understanding the true power and value of analytics. The executive leading the loyalty program at a major consumer brand shares the story of how analytics at his company was recently re-organized. The new analytic boss came to the loyalty program leader\u2019s office and asked, \u201cCan you explain to me what a \u2018Propensity Model\u2019 is?\u201d Propensity models make predictions about a customer\u2019s future behavior. The surprise here is not that a person who does not know what a propensity model is was running analytics at a major consumer brand. The shock, according to the loyalty leader, is that he had worked with his new boss for almost twenty years and had always assumed that people had a rudimentary understanding of what predictive analytics is. The loyalty leader was concerned that he had been essentially incomprehensible to his executive colleagues for over a decade.\nThe value villain here is not an individual. It is ignorance of the possibilities of advanced analytics. Michael Keithley, the award winning CIO at CAA [Creative Artists Agency] believes that someday in the future, line of business executives will be tested for technology competence. The competence being evaluated is not how the technology works, but how the technology creates value. Part of the pre-reading for this \u201cExecutive Technology Competence\u201d audit might be The New Know: Innovation Powered by Analytics, which provides a snapshot of how analytics imparts advantage.\nThis article was originally published on Forbes.