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Annual Business Analytics Forum at Scheller College of Business

Atlanta-based Home Depot and NCR discuss Business Analytics with faculty from Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business and the Business Analytics Center

More than 200 joined the Business Analytics Center (BAC) at Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business for our annual business analytics forum. Held at the Historic Academy of Medicine on Friday, August 17, this year’s event, titled “The Challenges for Business Analytics in an Omni Channel World,” addressed meeting consumer needs in a market characterized by both constant change and multiple platforms, formats and messages.

Richard McPhail
Keynote Speaker Richard McPhail, Senior Vice President of Finance and Founder,
Decision Analytics Center at The Home Depot

Speakers from both industry and academia explored methods successful companies must use to create a consistent cross channel effect that drives sales in both the physical and virtual realm of business. Today’s reality demands a multi-dimensional outlet including internet and mobile commerce sales, explained Keynote Speaker Richard McPhail, Senior Vice President of Finance and Founder, Decision Analytics Center at The Home Depot. “You must customize your user experience. Create a world of customized messaging, add a consistent valuable experience, and time your purchase journey appropriately.” 

You must customize your user experience. Create a world of customized messaging...
Richard McPhail


“McPhail continued, “Accurately forecasting consumer variety, volume, and the velocity at which it takes to reach the consumer is pertinent to the overall buying experience, but there is more to it than that. It even comes down to placing associates in stores at the perfect spot in time of consumer need--and the same goes for online avenues such as desktop and mobile platforms.”

Tom Chittenden, Vice President and General Manager of Retail Industry Solutions at NCR
Tom Chittenden, Vice President and General Manager of Retail Industry Solutions at NCR

...successful companies will be the ones with the ability to leverage data-driven insights and take action...
Tom Chittenden


While big-data and IoT are increasingly connecting the dots between consumers and devices, Tom Chittenden observes, what it is really doing is enabling the “Internet of Consumer Experiences”. “As the lines between channels in the retail world continue to fade, successful companies will be the ones with the ability to leverage data-driven insights and take action on (not simply report) analytics to drive next-level performance for their business. This includes everything from delivering unbroken omni-channel consumer engagement, to synchronizing product and service delivery, to making better decisions across the supply chain.”

Although much of the focus centered around developing and maintaining a deep understanding of each customer and their readiness to buy, Dr. Hu suggested targeting analytics in a different direction. “Focusing on product cost is the most important factor in the buyer’s decision making, contrary to what many people believe as age, race, or gender,” concluded Dr. Hu. “If you are price-sensitive and consistent, all other factors will follow suit on all channels.”

...supply chain can be portrayed not as a cost center, but a value center.
Dr. Manpreet Hora


Dr. Manpreet Hora extended the discussion to include critical supply chain considerations. “Supply chain Analytics as a decision-making tool has the potential of matching supply and demand using not only structured data, but also incorporating semi-structured and unstructured data. Thus, the value proposition of supply chain analytics is high where supply chain can be portrayed not as a cost center, but a value center.”

Manpreet Hora
Manpreet Hora, PhD, Associate Professor of Operations Management, Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business

A panel discussion followed the speaker program, generating lively questions. It was an extremely valuable and thought-provoking discussion of industry leaders and academia taking a deeper dive into the future of business analytics.

Panelist
Panelists (L to R): Erik Holbrook, Senior Director Decision Analytics at The Home Depot, Jeffrey Hu, PhD, Professor of IT Management and Analytics, and Co-Director -Business Analytics Center (BAC), Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, Tom Chittenden, Vice President and General Manager of Retail Industry Solutions at NCR, and Sri Narasimhan (Moderator), PhD, Professor of IT Management and Co-Director -Business Analytics Center (BAC), Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business

Additional speakers and panelists included Tom Chittenden, Vice President and General Manager of Retail Industry Solutions at NCR, Erik Holbrook, Senior Director Decision Analytics at The Home Depot, Manpreet Hora, PhD, Associate Professor of Operations Management, Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, Jeffrey Hu, PhD, Professor of IT Management and Analytics, and Co-Director -Business Analytics Center (BAC), Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, and Sridhar Narasimhan, PhD, Professor of IT Management and Co-Director -Business Analytics Center (BAC), Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business.

Following the event, attendees were given the opportunity to offer feedback. “Excellent content and knowledgeable speakers,” said one attendee. “Very relevant at this point in time.”

For more information, visit the the Business Analytics Center.

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