Why analytics is taking off right now:
- Total Quality and Six-Sigma taught statistics to engineers.
- Goldman Sachs made mad money with statistical finance. This is a good read.
- There's a crap-load of data available now. 2 exabytes a day of new data, though frankly it's mostly cat videos and Bieber tweets.
- Cheap computers, cheap cloud computing, and good open source software like R and RapidMiner
- read more below...
Frankly, I think Competing on Analytics had a fair amount to do with it, as did the million dollar Netflix Prize.