Although my work is not directly related to analytics, I've always made some effort to include data analysis in my APO related work (perhaps because I used it a lot in college research). And that last conclusion goes along with my experience over the years. In a couple of situations I was able to get interesting results from data, but in most cases the techniques were not so important. After the right data for a good question reveals unexpected results, everything else is just easy.
Looking back in time, I think knowing more about analytics has helped me in a different way. Knowing the data and making good questions is an iterative process. Having some tools to do experiments is a good way to keep the loop running and the more time spent with the data, the higher is the probability of making the "golden" question.
Freakonomics was a pleasure to read.