Analytics eNews

     eNews: November 21, 2013  

From the Editor
So much data, so little insight

I’ve been around long enough to remember when high-end analysts/quants/numerati/number-crunchers/whatever you want to call them whined that if only they had enough good, clean data, they could solve all (or almost all) of the corporate world’s most challenging operations/systems/complex business/whatever decision problems with data-based/fact-driven/mathematical-modeling solutions.

Be careful what you wish for.

In an ironic twist, in today’s big data era (sorry, I can’t yet bring myself to capitalize the “b” and the “d” in “big data”), many of those same folks have been inundated with unfathomable amounts of data from multiple sources that were unimaginable just a few years ago, leaving them struggling with a whole new problem: How do you find real, valuable, actionable insight from a sea of data when you’re drowning in the stuff?

Funny how much and how fast things can change when you’re working in the business analytics business.

So what’s the solution to the “big data” problem (i.e., so much data, so little insight)? Glad you asked. No matter how many of the three or four “Vs” (volume, veracity, validity and/or variability, depending on who’s counting) of big data you’re concerned with, you’ll find answers at either of two upcoming INFORMS conferences. The 2014 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and O.R., set for March 30-April 1 in Boston, will feature a powerful line-up of speakers, sessions and workshops, headlined by keynote speaker Tom Davenport (see below). On June 22-24, 2014, in San Jose, Calif., the INFORMS Conference on Big Data will focus on the business of big data and making the journey from data-rich to decision-smart.

Peter Horner
Analytics Newsmakers

IBM Study: Big data equals big payoff

While more than 75 percent of the highest performing organizations cite growth or innovation as the chief value of business analytics, almost two-thirds of them say some form of political or executive resistance is the primary barrier to realizing the full value of their investments, according to a new IBM study. The study also found three essential factors to advance business analytics within organizations – sponsorship, trust and skills – and significant gaps in each area. READ MORE.

Are you smarter than your smartphone?

Smartphones will soon be able to predict a consumer’s next move, their next purchase or interpret actions based on what it knows, according to Gartner, Inc. This insight will be performed based on an individual’s data gathered using cognizant computing – the next step in personal cloud computing. “Smartphones are becoming smarter, and will be smarter than you by 2017,” says Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. READ MORE.

Davenport to headline INFORMS Analytics Conference

Thomas Davenport, analytics pioneer, thought-leader and best-selling author, will headline the 2014 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and O.R. with a keynote address on “Analytics 3.0: Where Big Data and Traditional Analytics Meet.” The meeting, scheduled for March 30-April 1, is expected to draw more than 900 analytics professionals to Boston for three days of intensive engagement and real-world learning on the science and art of analytics and operations research. READ MORE.

Online map illustrates importance of global competence for U.S. students

Nearly 1 million data points have been collected to prove what parents, businesspeople and policymakers already know: American students must be globally competent to succeed in the interconnected 21st century. “Mapping the Nation: Linking Local to Global,” a new online resource from Asia Society, the Longview Foundation for Education in World Affairs and International Understanding, and analytics leader SAS, makes a compelling case for a globally competent workforce and citizenry. READ MORE.

ORION optimizes deliveries at UPS

UPS recently launched its route optimization software known as ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation), just in time for the busy holiday season. The rollout of ORION will optimize 10,000 delivery routes by the end of the year, thus reducing miles driven and reinforcing UPS’ sustainability efforts by saving more than 1.5 million gallons of fuel and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 14,000 metric tones in that time frame. A reduction of just one mile each day per driver over the course of a year saves the company up to $50 million. READ MORE.

Analytics Magazine: Current Issue

The November/December 2013 issue of Analytics magazine features articles and commentary from several thought-leaders in the analytics space, including Mu Sigma CEO Dhiraj Rajaram, PAW founder Eric Siegel and ParStream CEO Mike Hummel.

To read the entire issue, click here.

New slate of officers introduced
At the recent INFORMS Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, the Analytics Section of INFORMS held its annual business meeting, jointly chaired by outgoing President Zahir Balaporia and incoming President Don Kleinmuntz. With more than 100 members in attendance, Zahir announced the results of the section’s recent elections. The officers serving until the 2014 INFORMS Annual Meeting include: President Don Kleinmuntz (Strata Decision Technology), VP/President-Elect Glenn Wegyrn (Analytic Impact), Secretary Veena Mendiratta (Alcatel-Lucent) and Treasurer Tarun Mohan Lal (Mayo Clinic). READ MORE.

INFORMS Initiatives
Continuing Education for Analytics Professionals
Following its successful launch in 2013, INFORMS will once again offer its popular continuing education courses “Essential Skills for Analytics Professionals” and  “Data Exploration & Visualization” in 2014. Final dates will be announced in December.
Essential Skills for Analytics Professionals
“[The instructor] brilliantly delivered a great step-by-step approach for succinctly defining an opportunity, determining key questions required for a recommendation, developing a work plan, then selling the recommendations.”
– Caroline Alexander, FedEx Corporation
2014 sites:
Atlanta – Mid-February
Boston – March (in conjunction with INFORMS Analytics Conference March 29-April 1)
San Jose, Calif. – June (in conjunction with INFORMS Big Data Conference June 22-24)
Data Exploration & Visualization
“I highly recommend this course. I learned a lot and had fun along the way. [The instructors] go over the plots you will need 99 percent of the time. They provide a general framework for tackling data analysis and highlight the pitfalls one can make along the process.”
–  Ivan Hernandez, Stevens Institute of Technology
2014 sites:
Boston – March (in conjunction with INFORMS Analytics Conference March 29-April 1)
San Jose, Calif. – June (in conjunction with INFORMS Big Data Conference June 22-24)
For more information, visit
INFORMS releases CAP Certification Study Guide

The INFORMS Analytics Certification Study Guide Committee has made the beta version of the study guide available online for your perusal and comments. This development answers the biggest drawback for making the personal decision to certify: “How do I prepare for the exam?” All who review and provide feedback on the study guide and schedule an exam before Dec. 31, 2013, will receive a $100 rebate on the cost of the exam. Click here to see the study guide draft. Contact for more information.

Analytics Maturity Model
As business and government leaders increasingly adopt analytics to run their organizations better, many in management and among analytics professionals are asking: Is my organization taking full advantage of the insights that our data can reveal? How analytically mature is our organization? How can we do better? With that in mind, INFORMS will introduce the INFORMS Analytics Maturity Model (AMM) next spring that will help organizations do a self-assessment of their analytics maturity and then identify the INFORMS services that will help them set goals and reach a higher level of analytics maturity. READ MORE.

Shell drills into big data analytics with SAS
Trade Extensions completes large pipeline project
Wi2, Accenture offer analytics platform in Japan
Big data is beginning to become overhyped, if it is not already. The idea that having vast quantities of data is the only prerequisite for a strong data-driven infrastructure is inaccurate. Decision-makers must be able to see instantaneous reporting and query responses in order to address customer needs and infrastructure maintenance. It is clear that big data is not all that is necessary to maintain competitive advantages. Now, organizations must evolve, and to do so, they must turn their attention to fast data.”

­ Mike Hummel, CEO of ParStream, in the “Forum” column in the November/December issue of Analytics magazine.

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Upcoming Analytics Conferenes


2014 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research
March 30 - April 1, 2014, Boston, MA

2014 INFORMS Conference on the Business of Big Data
June 22-24, 2014, San Jose, CA


Multimethod Simulation & Modeling
Dec. 12, Washington, D.C.


Data Mining: Failure to Launch
Dec. 18, 1 p.m.

Jan. 16, 11 a.m.

CAP Exam Schedule

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) will hold exams for its Certified Analytics Professional program according to the following schedule:

Nov. 23
INFORMS Headquarters
Campus of University of MD, Baltimore County
Catonsville, MD

Dec. 7
University of Colorado Denver

University of Washington
Eastside Leadership Center
Bellevue, Wash. (suburb of Seattle)
Dec. 12
Queens School of Business
Lecture Theater
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Jan. 11, 2014
ITPG Education Center
Vienna, Va. (suburb of Washington, D.C.)
Jan. 29, 2014
University of Alabama
Business Analytics Symposium
Tuscaloosa, Ala.
March 6, 2014
Drexel University James E. Marks Intercultural Center
March 29, 2014
INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and O.R.
Westin Boston Waterfront
March 30, 2014
Gartner BI & Analytics Summit
Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas
June 21, 2014
INFORMS Conference on The Business of Big Data
San Jose Marriott
San Jose, Calif.
To apply, click on

For more information, click on

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