Analytics gone wild?


A recent post on the International Institute for Analytics (IIA) site, Analytics Conferences Gone Wild!, is*not* about how statisticians are sexy.

Yes, I'm recalling that memorable quote in the August 2009 NY Times story, "For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word: Statistics,” which included the following quote:

“I keep saying that the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians,” said Hal Varian, chief economist at Google. “And I’m not kidding.”

In a conversation about this week’s “Moneyball” movie premiere, friend and colleague Beverly Brown noted the film underscored that analytics had indeed arrived, and, per Bev, are sexy … or perhaps she said that about “Moneyball” star Brad Pitt ...

Wild and sexy or not, the IIA post did make me stop and think.  At SAS, we’ve been promoting the use of analytics for more than 35 years. So it’s gratifying to see the growing interest in this important technology. The “proliferation” of analytics conferences reflects this increased interest, of course.

What’s telling is that many of these conferences are taking a more business-oriented approach. Quantitative (“quants”) and technical experts are still big users of analytics. But increasingly, business professionals and executives are too as they seek business decisions based on facts, on data, on analysis.

IIA Research Director Tom Davenport’s two most recent books reflect this trend. His Competing on Analytics (2007) talked about pioneering organizations leading the way. More recently, his Analytics at Work (2010) explored the growing acceptance and widespread use of analytics and fact-based decision-making.

You can also see this trend in the many successful implementations of analytics. Here are some examples from SAS customers.

As noted in the IIA post, SAS has two analytics conferences coming up next month in Orlando: The Premier Business Leadership Series event (25-27Oct), and immediately beforehand at the same venue, Analytics 2011 (24-25Oct):

  • The Series event focuses on leadership and analytics from a business perspective. Presenters range from thought leaders like Colin Powell, Jim Collins, SAS CEO Jim Goodnight and, yes, Tom Davenport, to a host of executives from Accenture, retailer Belk, Disney, the NBA’s Orlando Magic, grocer Winn Dixie and others.
  • Analytics 2011 (A2011) combines SAS’ prior M2010 Data Mining and F2010 Business Forecasting conferences into one event on the latest analytics trends and techniques. Like the Series event, A2011 features customer presenters, primarily practitioners, putting analytics into action in their organizations.

I encourage you to come to Orlando and explore analytics via one or both conferences. They’ll be insightful and informative. And maybe, just maybe, sexy and wild too :>

photo by hillary h // attribution by cc


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Mike Nemecek

Public Relations Manager for SAS.

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