Today, the ability to exploit big data using advanced analytics bears considerable potential to create competitive advantages. Therefore, business leaders need to make crucial design decisions on how to cultivate these capabilities within their organization. Analytics Competency Centers (ACCs) are an important organizational solution to spread analytics capabilities by providing leadership, expertise and infrastructure. In this paper, we analyze nine analytics competency centers of major global players across several industries - based on a series of interviews with executives, consultants and data scientists. We identify strategic and structural design options, common processes, best-practices, and potential future development paths. In particular, we distinguish between two generic types of centers that differ in their strategic orientation and their choice of design options. Our work contributes to organizational design theory addressing the question on how analytics capabilities can be nurtured for competitive advantage. It should provide concrete guidance to business leaders on how to design and apply ACCs as an organizational option.

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