Analytics Leadership

Neil Biehn

Senior Director, Business Analytics

Building and Maintaining a High Functioning Analytics Department

Everyone, from entry level data scientists to executives, has great ideas about what the power of analytics can do without a shortage of problems to solve. However, project priorities aren’t easy to understand. Some projects are very sexy, while others seem like pure drudgery. In these situations, a lack of discernment and flexibility can cripple an Analytics department. In this talk we’ll discuss how to manage up the executive chain, manage across multiple business partners and implement a deadline-free, flexible and safe working environment for your team. Key takeaways include:

• Saying no without saying no
• Ensuring your team is working on the right problems
• Getting your customers to prioritize for you
• Utilizing Agile and Lean methods to create work-life balance
• Leveraging the concept of a Minimum Viable Product


Dr. Neil Biehn is currently the Senior Director of North American Service Business Analytics for Siemens Healthineers where he leads a team of Data Scientists and Analysts that supports the entire Service Business from Sales to Field Engineers. BeforeSiemens Healthineers, Neil worked for 14 years at PROS Holdings, Inc, a software leader in Sales and Pricing Effectiveness, where for the final 6 years led 30 scientists to create and maintain algorithms across B2B and Travel and Transportation industries. He published several papers, a book chapter and submitted 3 patents. Neil received his PhD in Operations Research with a concentration in Mathematics from North Carolina State University in 2001.

Josh Hemann

Director, Content Data Engineering & Analytics

It’s Not About the Math: Common Causes of Failure in Analytic Organizations

Analytics is a broad and deep field with applications to an increasing number of business domains. In recent years there has been a marked increase in companies building, or increasing investment in, data and analytics work and the talent necessary to do it. When such efforts fail to deliver value, it is rarely about the math.

In this talk, Josh will cover a number of challenges that affect the impact of analytics team, from titles for practitioners, to organizational alignment, to communication of results. Examples will be shared from his work at Netflix but also from myriad industries he has been involved with in the past and the commonalities that have emerged.


Josh Hemann is the Director of Content Data Engineering & Analytics at Netflix, where his team works at the interface of engineering, science, strategy, and Hollywood in service of bringing the most engaging film and series content to subscribers.

Over the past 17 years his analytics work has spanned multiple settings including air pollution research; scientific computing; recommendation systems for retail loyalty programs; and integrating machine learning into billion-dollar entertainment franchises like Call of Duty and Guitar Hero. He has built and managed multiple teams and cares deeply about the craft of practitioners.

Josh holds an M.S in Applied Mathematics and a B.S in Mathematics from the University of Colorado.

Jack Kloeber


Winning with Analytics in Agriculture – What is the Right Combination of Hard and Soft Skills?

We all know that soft skills are important in communicating with a decision-maker before, during, and upon completion of a project. This is a story of a group of analysts that were invited into a completely new industry that had been underserved by the analytics community – Agriculture (Seeds) R&D. After a quick description of this industry and the products and skillsets of the R&D client, I will give examples of near disasters (due to soft skills) and great successes (also mainly due to softskills) and make a case for the Edelman competition really being a test of a company’s ability to excel in the soft skills. We used everything from examples from other industries, to walking through fields of soybeans to prizes rewarding desired behavior. You will see some brief examples of videos and presentations from the Edelman video collection along with discussions around the hard core analysis that existed behind them. The Edelman effort has completely changed the way analytics are seen and communicated within the large Agriculture R&D organization, and the competitive gains continue to accumulate.


Jack Kloeber is a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel with experience in R&D portfolio management, decision analysis, modeling and simulation, technology selection, and strategy development. Jack taught mathematics at West Point for three years, and graduate level decision analysis, systems simulation, and technology selection for six years at the Air Force Institute of Technology. His work has supported decisions for various superfund sites within the Department of Energy, and many technology organizations within the Departments of Army, Air Force, and Navy. He was the head of Portfolio Management for Bristol-Myers Squibb, and more recently, head of Portfolio Management for J&J Pharma Services where he coordinated the portfolio management efforts across multiple R&D and marketing operating companies. He was a Senior Partner at KROMITE for the first 5 years and has been the Principal for the past 5 years, working on challenging decision analytics problems in R&D in pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and agriculture. He received his Ph.D. in Economic Decision Analysis from Georgia Institute of Technology and Masters in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University. Jack is a Past-President and Fellow of the Society of Decision Professionals, 20 year member of the Decisions Analysis Society, and a 25-year member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

Jack Levis

Senior Director, Industrial Engineering

 The Road to Optimization – Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Turning data into a business advantage through optimization is the goal of most organizations. The ever growing availability of data, along with expanding computing power and tools, opens the door to businesses gaining competitive advantage through analytical processes and skill.

UPS won the 2016 Franz Edelman prize for its On Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation system (ORION). ORION is reducing 100 million miles driven annually and saving UPS $300 to $400 million each year.

Jack Levis, senior director of process management at UPS was the program manager for ORION. He will share his experiences in designing, developing, and deploying this game changing tool. The path was fraught with pitfalls, and its success was due to the team overcoming many hard fought challenges.

This presentation will outline many of those challenges well as lessons learned from the journey. Jack will highlight best practices so that other projects have a smoother path.


Jack Levis, Senior Director of Industrial Engineering, drives the development of operational technology solutions. These solutions require advanced analytics to reengineer current processes to streamline the business and maximize productivity.

Jack has been the business owner and process designer for UPS’ award-winning Package Flow Technology suite of systems, a breakthrough change for UPS, resulting in a reduction of 185 million miles driven each year.

His team designed UPS’ next generation of dispatching technologies which use advanced optimizations. The world-class optimizations and systems, UPS ORION, On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation, has completed deployment and is providing significant operational benefits to UPS and its customers. UPS estimates that ORION is reducing costs by $300M to $400M per year.

Having earned his Bachelor of Arts in psychology, from California State University Northridge, Jack also holds a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University.

Jack holds advisory council positions for multiple universities and associations, including the U.S. Census Bureau Scientific Advisory Committee.

Michael Svilar

Managing Director

Driving Value with Analytics: Lessons from Front Line of the Analytics Revolution

Based on over 34 years of experience in analytic consulting, in both the public service and commercial worlds, and in small boutiques and leading large analytical consulting organization with over 1300 Data Scientists, a few experiences and lessons stand out that have been very formative in thinking about analytics organizations and leadership of those organizations.

A few of these are:

·       Your clients are betting their businesses and careers, so you better be sure
·       Deliver Value not Algorithms
·       Clear versus Black Boxes
·       The role and importance of the Analytic Artist
·       How to drive value for a client for 8+ years
·       Migrate, Mutate or Die:  Innovating in a rapidly changing environment
·       Function versus Industry: What is the right mix


Michael Svilar is a Managing Director at Accenture, where he serves as the Accenture Analytics Global Go-to-Market Lead for the Products Industry. In this role he is focused on bringing all aspects of Analytics from Data Warehouses to Artificial Intelligence/Deep Learning to clients in the Consumer Package Goods, Retail, Automotive and Industrial Equipment and Life Sciences.
Prior to this role, Michael was the Data Science and Advanced Analytics Lead for Accenture Analytics. In that role, Michael built a group of over 1300 data scientists around the globe and oversaw Accenture’s network of Advanced Analytic Innovation Centers, and Academic Alliances. Michael has been with Accenture for 18 years, and was a founding member of Accenture’s Marketing Sciences practice. Prior to joining Accenture Analytics, Michael was the Global Lead of the Marketing Analytics group in Accenture Interactive.

Michael has led analytics projects across multiple industries including Retail, Communications, Financial Services, Automotive, Consumer Package Goods, and Electronics. His primary area of technical focus is on econometric time series analysis, statistical analysis, forecasting and simulation, applied to marketing, merchandising and price promotions. Michael and his team were awarded the Best of the Bullseye award from Target in 2011, based upon the Marketing Analytics work that they have done there.

Prior to joining Accenture, Mr. Svilar worked in the areas of forecasting, fraud analytics, and evaluating program effectiveness and impacts through advanced analytics for different US Government Departments. Mr. Svilar holds a patent in forecasting analytics, and has published articles in different areas of analytics. He is based in Washington, DC, and has been in consulting for over 34 years.