Analytics eNews

     eNews: June 20, 2013  

From the Editor
Don’t tell me, show me

Analytics professionals are typically called in when an organization faces a particularly complex business, systems or operations problem that demands a mathematically modeled, data-driven solution, but often times the toughest part of the job for analysts is effectively communicating their research and results to decision-makers. With that in mind, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) routinely holds “soft skills” workshops and sessions in conjunction with its major conferences, and Analytics magazine regularly publishes articles on such soft skills as communication, because it’s a skill that is rarely taught in engineering or business schools, yet it’s a skill that is critical for analytics professionals operating in the real world.

For example, in an article in the upcoming July/August 2013 issue of Analytics, Evan S. Levine, head of analytics at the New York City Police Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau and former chief scientist at the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Risk Management and Analysis, discusses four fundamental principles of analytics communication. After attending an eye-popping session by Randy Krum, president of InfoNewt, at the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research this spring, I’m convinced that infographics and data visualization (see example below) are a great way for analysts to present “complex information quickly and clearly” to any audience, especially the somewhat skeptical crowd in the C-suite.

According to Wikipedia, infographics are effective because: 1. humans receive significantly more information from vision than any of their other senses; 2. 50 percent of the human brain is dedicated to visual functions; and 3. images are processed faster than text. Wikipedia also notes that, “an estimated 65 percent of the population are visual learners (as opposed to auditory or kinesthetic).”

When it comes to analytics, seeing is believing … and understanding.

Peter Horner

  Above: Click on image to enlarge.
Analytics Newsmakers

Continuing education for analytics professionals

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences’ (INFORMS) Continuing Education program will offer its first two courses this fall. These intensive, two-day, in-person courses will provide analytical professionals with key skills, tools and methods that can be implemented immediately in a work environment. READ MORE.

Big data paying off for big companies

A new research report, “Big Data in Big Companies,” describes how 20 large firms benefit from big data projects. Report co-authors Tom Davenport of the International Institute for Analytics (IIA) and Jill Dyché of SAS explore how these companies have deployed analytics to generate value from their big data assets. READ MORE.

Study: Top CPOs drive higher profit margins

IBM recently released a study that indicates companies with high-performing procurement organizations are driving better bottom line results. According to the study, these organizations report profit margins of 7.12 percent as compared to just 5.83 percent for companies with low-performing procurement organizations. READ MORE.

Retail stores set for digital makeover

When shopping in a store with mobile-equipped store associates, 65 percent of U.S. shoppers and 75 percent of European shoppers expect the associates to be able to check product pricing on that mobile device, according to new Forrester data based on a survey of more than 4,000 U.S. and 13,000 EU respondents. Additionally, 38 percent and 60 percent, respectively, expect the associate to use her mobile device to answer technical questions about a product. READ MORE.

Study: Who can best manage the 'voice of the customer'?

Over the next three years, global organizations will make understanding and interacting with the customer their top priority. So says a new study from The Economist Intelligence Unit titled, “Voice of the customer: Whose job is it, anyway?” Yet only 56 percent of respondents to the survey, sponsored by SAS, believe their companies clearly understand the customer today. READ MORE.

Analytics Section of INFORMS News

Innovative Applications in Analytics

Submissions for the 2013-2014 Innovative Applications in Analytics Award, sponsored by the Analytics Section of INFORMS, are due July 25, 2013. The award recognizes creative and unique developments, applications or combinations of analytical techniques used in practice. READ MORE.

Mini-Conference on the Practice of Analytics

The Analytics Section of INFORMS, in partnership with the Chicago Chapter of INFORMS and the University of Chicago, is planning a Mini-Conference on the Practice of Analytics to be held in Chicago on Aug. 21. The half-day event (starting at 1 p.m.) will feature speakers from industry focused on the practice of analytics. The program is envisioned to include: a plenary talk, three to four breakout sessions on focused topics and a panel session with industry leaders to conclude the conference. A networking reception will follow the panel session.

The conference will be held in downtown Chicago at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center. Program and registration information will be available shortly on the INFORMS website. For additional information contact Analytics Section President Zahir Balaporia (

Analytics Magazine: Current Issue

Analytics May/June 2013 IssueIn order to better integrate business analytics into “how a company does business” and thereby compete on business analytics, the corporation itself must be upgraded says Randy Bartlett and Girish Malik in their cover story, “The Business Analytics Revolution,” in the May/June issue of Analytics magazine. The upgrading process is built around what the authors describe as the “four killer competencies” of analytically mature companies.

The May/June 2013 issue also includes articles on social media marketing, load forecasting, text analytics and much, much more. Read it here.


Say What?
“The message here is not that organizations shouldn’t be researching emerging and imminent new technologies and methods, such as analytics and big data. The message is that granting decision rights to managers – but holding them accountable with consequences – is effective at closing the [knowledge, alignment and effect] gaps.”

Gary Cokins, founder of Analytics-Based Performance Management LLC, in his article “Historians vs. Futurists
in the current issue of Analytics.

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Recent Job Posting

Waterfront International Ltd - Quantitative Research Analyst - (Toronto, Canada) - (June 19, 2013)

Waterfront International Ltd - Text Mining Analyst - (Toronto, Canada) - (June 19, 2013)

Manheim - Operation Research III - (Atlanta, GA) - (June 18, 2013)

Manheim - Operation Research II - (Atlanta, GA) - (June 18, 2013)

Manheim - Operation Research I - (Atlanta, GA) - (June 18, 2013)

PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP - Sr. Associate, Management Analysts - (New York, NY) - (June 17, 2013)

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Upcoming Analytics Conferenes


INFORMS Healthcare 2013
June 23 - 26, 2013, Chicago, IL

INFORMS Annual Meeting 2013 Minneapolis
Oct. 6 - 9, 2013, Minneapolis, MN


Data Analytics Training
June 24 - 28, 2013, Denver, CO

Analytics for Supply Chain
Sept. 12 - 13, 2013, Boston, MA

Predictive Analytics World
Sept. 29 - Oct 3, 2013, Boston, MA

Predictive Analytics World
Oct. 23 - 24, 2013, London, England

Continuing Education Courses

Essential Skills for Analytics Professionals
Sept. 26 - 27, 2013, Redwood City, CA

Data Exploration & Visualization
Sept. 30 - Oct. 1, 2013, Redwood City, CA

Data Exploration & Visualization
Oct. 3 - 4, 2013, Minneapolis, MN

Essential Skills for Analytics Professionals
Nov. 7 - 8, 2013, Washington, D.C.

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