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Bill Franks
Bill Franks

Renowned Analytics Chief Bill Franks Shares What It Takes to Develop Data Focused Leadership

The rise of analytics is a game-changer in any industry, but when business leaders fail to focus on data usage, their organization will suffer.

“To truly be data-driven you have to force everyone in your organization from the top down to make decisions based on analytics, even when it may be uncomfortable,” Teradata’s Chief Analytics Officer Bill Franks said at a dinner hosted by the Business Analytics Center at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business. The event was held on Tuesday, Jan. 26 with support from North Highland Worldwide Consulting and Tableau. Franks gave the keynote address. He also serves as a faculty member at the International Institute for Analytics, and has authored two books on data science and analytics, Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., April, 2012) and The Analytics Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, Sept., 2014).

“Analytics cannot replace execution,” Franks said. “At the end of the day if it's not used, it’s not valuable.”

Bill Franks and Beverly Wright

Franks shared insight on the importance of having leadership with a data focus on decision-making, and what it looks like for that to happen, as well as ways to move a leadership team toward data inspired decision-making.

“Start with consulting and coaching. Think like a referee, be rapid and firm in your call. Think about the benefit in stages and build up over time,” he said.

Following Frank’s talk, assigned discussion leads from various industries guided the team of 50 business analytics professionals through an exercise to develop a plan to put his advice and guidance into action at their respective companies.

“In every industry and every functional area, an analytical and innovative mindset is a required capability as organizations strive to solve complex business problems and stay on the leading edge,” said Scheller College Dean Maryam Alavi.

“I’m proud to say that the Scheller College of Business is committed to preparing principled leaders who are analytically skilled, innovative, entrepreneurial, and can manage technology in a global setting,” she added.

A number of organizations were represented, including the following individuals: Dwight Specht from North Highland, Chris Walzer from North Highland, Chris Li from Tableau, Chris Short from Cox Enterprises, Joe Dolan from ApolloMD, and Dr. Beverly Wright from Business Analytics Center. Master's students from the newly formed Business Analytics Club, led by Nathan Hombroek, also attended for support and networking.

About The Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business

The Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business is located in a state-of-the-art building in Georgia Tech’s vibrant Technology Square, the core of Atlanta’s high-tech business community. The College offers an internationally recognized business education, including full-time, evening, and Executive MBA options as well as undergraduate and PhD degrees, to approximately 2,000 degree-seeking students each year. Scheller College collaborates across Georgia Tech to offer joint MS degrees in Quantitative and Computational Finance and Business Analytics. Custom and open enrollment programs for executives and professionals are offered through the Huang Executive Education Center, located within the College. Four interdisciplinary Centers of Excellence encourage collaboration in research, teaching, and experiential learning within Georgia Tech and the business community in sustainability, business analytics, leadership and international business and related topics.

About North Highland Worldwide Consulting

North Highland Worldwide Consulting was established by Dave Peterson in 1992. A global consulting firm with over 1,500 employees in 23 offices worldwide, they bring big ideas and challenge the norm. North Highland’s mission is to empower clients, colleagues, and communities to achieve aspirations while building lasting, caring relationships. They deliver value through seamlessly integrated offerings. They are enablers of excellence, a powerful, global integration of industry know-how, design, technology and data.

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Susan Ambrosetti
Director of Marketing & Communications