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INFORMS Online Analytics 2011 Conference

Things I’m Hearing (Part 4)

by Vijay Mehrotra on April 12th, 2011

It appears to be past midnight local time here in Chicago.  It’s nice to see some conference attendees still out here at the hotel bar, including several members of the winning Edelman team from the Midwest Independent System Operator (ISO).   Big congrats to them.

Went to a great panel discussion during one of the late sessions today entitled “Growing an Analytics Capability” – four panelists from different industries and generations discussing their work, their challenges, and some of the organizational barriers to success.  We heard them talk about getting business customers engaged, about low hanging fruit and internal credibility/capital that gives you a chance to go after bigger (and harder) problems, and the importance of communicating clearly and effectively to the key people within an organization, and a whole bunch of other things.

In our profession, we don’t talk about this kind of stuff enough, and I used to think it was because of the technical professionals’ disdain for all things fuzzy and qualitative.  In my old age, I now realize that it is also because these things are hard to effectively teach outside of a practical context, and if you haven’t wrestled with these things yourself at some level they sound like either fairy tales or empty platitudes.  We need to figure out how to teach these things.

More on this tomorrow.  I’m going to bed.

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