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The 2015 Business Analytics and Big Data Forum drew nearly 300 attendees, including industry leaders.
The 2015 Business Analytics and Big Data Forum drew nearly 300 attendees, including industry leaders.
The forum’s keynote address was delivered by Thomas H. Davenport, a professor at Babson College who is co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics.
The forum’s keynote address was delivered by Thomas H. Davenport, a professor at Babson College who is co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics.
Adithya Pattabhiramaiah, an assistant professor of marketing at Scheller College, presents during a forum session.
Adithya Pattabhiramaiah, an assistant professor of marketing at Scheller College, presents during a forum session.

Scheller College’s Business Analytics Center Holds 2015 Business Analytics and Big Data Forum

Nearly 300 industry leaders and analytics experts converged at Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business on March 20 for the 2015 Business Analytics and Big Data Forum.

The forum was the inaugural event of Scheller College’s Business Analytics Center (BAC), established in fall 2014.

“The BAC serves as a platform for business analytics efforts, bringing together organizations, analytics thought leaders, talented students, and a world-class interdisciplinary faculty at Georgia Tech to educate and exchange best practices for applying analytics to solve business problems,” according to Senior Associate Dean Sri Narasimhan, co-director of the BAC and co-chair of the forum.

The forum’s keynote address was delivered by Thomas H. Davenport, a professor at Babson College who is co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics, a fellow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Digital Business, a senior advisor to Deloitte Analytics, and author of Big Data at Work.

During his presentation, Davenport explained that the business world is now in the era of “Analytics 3.0,” in which analytics are integral to every aspect of a company, from decision support to product development. “Analytics are everybody’s job,” he said.

He stressed that companies need a big data champion (a chief analytics officer) and a range of analytics-related professionals – not just data scientists, but also product developers, “light quants,” and analytics translators.

Strong communication skills are essential to the strategic use of vast amounts of data for making better business decisions, he added. “If you can’t translate it, if you can’t tell a good story with data, you aren’t going to be able to influence an organization,” Davenport said.

Successful analytics professionals need to be “able to communicate with both silicon- and carbon-based life forms equally well,” he joked.

Following Davenport’s keynote, forum attendees divided into sessions on:

  • Pricing Analytics: Contemporary Challenges and Solutions
  • Sports Analytics
  • Privacy and Security Issues in Big Data
  • Visual Analytics
  • Social Media Analytics (two sessions)
  • Financial Analytics
  • Analytics in the Automotive Industry
  • Healthcare Analytics

Panelists represented companies and organizations including Acxiom, AIG Science, AT&T, AutoTrader.com, Black Book, Bloomberg LP, The Center for Global Enterprise, Cardlytics, Competitive Sports Analysis, Cox Automotive, Deloitte Digital, Equifax, Juice Analytics, Kabbage, Moxie, Reed Elsevier Group, SunTrust Banks, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange.

Georgia Tech Executive Vice President of Research Stephen Cross and Scheller College Dean Maryam Alavi both spoke about the growing importance of analytics to the Institute.

Many Georgia Tech students participating in the forum, serving as volunteers, networking with executives, and participating in the poster competition.

Georgia Tech alumus Carlos Solano (BS CS 2010, MBA 2014), who works as a business analytics director for a global corporation, said, “The forum brought people with different business backgrounds and industries together. Hearing how some of the speakers are addressing challenges in the data journey and learning where the analytics industry is headed was of tremendous value. Sharing my own views and ideas and getting feedback from peers has opened up new opportunities that I had not considered before. As a Georgia Tech double grad, it is great to see that the Institute is once again a leader and visionary in a new and evolving industry – big data and business analytics.”

Each of the forum’s sponsoring companies – AT&T, Coca-Cola, Deloitte, Equifax, and North Highland – sent a large contingent of employees to the event. These companies also comprise the Business Analytics Center’s Executive Council.

“We work with our Executive Council partners to identify research projects in business analytics, and could potentially even co-author white papers on business analytics topics of mutual interest,” Narasimhan said.

In addition to co-directors Narasimham and IT Management Associate Professor Jeffrey Hu, Scheller College’s Business Analytics Center includes involvement from 23 faculty members in various areas at Georgia Tech.

Ranked 6th in the nation for Quantitative Analysis by U.S. News & World Report, Scheller College offers an interdisciplinary one-year Master of Science in Analytics (in conjunction with the College of Computing’s School of Computational Science and Engineering and the College of Engineering’s Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering). Scheller College also offers an MBA concentration and undergraduate certificate in Business Analytics.

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Susan Ambrosetti
Director of Marketing & Communications