Data & Analytics

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Elevating Data, Analytics to the C-Suite

The former senior vice president of vendor analytics at Bank of America is now chief analytics officer at Bank of America Merchant Services. While Merchant Services is technically a separate business, Douglas Hague’s ascension to the C-suite is notable in that it’s one of the first analytics roles to report directly to the CEO at Bank of America Merchant Services. That has some implications for strategy and for long-term planning.

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Rent The Runway: Organizing Around Analytics

For the fashionista who lacks the budget to buy fabulous designer dresses, there’s a solution: Rent one.

Rent The Runway rents occasion dresses. The company caters to its fashion forward clientele through unique services, including on-call stylist advice and customer’s “style moment” photos, parsed by measurements.

These services are, in no small measure, what sets Rent The Runway apart from its small pool of competitors. They’re are also driven by data and analytics.

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ComScore: The Art and Science of Big Data, From the Inside

While comScore is among the world’s biggest data purveyors — the digital measurement and analytics company has collected about 14 petabytes of online data from around the globe, about 20 terabytes a day — it still has to execute on all that data internally, in order to be successful externally.

This, it turns out, is where a lot of organizations stumble: Capturing the value in big data.

A recent report by MIT Sloan’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) details how comScore organizes its assets to create value from big data.

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Better Decisions with Smarter Data

Part of that gap between the pressure to be more data-driven in decision making, and a lack of useful data, says Grenoble University researcher Ali Fouladkar, can be explained by the fact that while data analysis has led to competitive advantage for some organizations, decision makers are often presented with noise-filled big data.

What they need instead is smart data.

The problem in getting to smart data in an era of big data is part technological and part training.

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The Science of Managing Black Swans

In business, a black swan is neither a bird nor a ballerina — it’s a very rare convergence of factors that leads to catastrophe. New research suggests that by exploiting all types of data, managers can help prevent some black swan events, and reduce the hazards of other risky blind spots. The caveat: less intuition; more data.

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Luminar Insights

Facing headwinds from a shifting media industry, executives at Spanish-language broadcasting company Entravision recognized the need to innovate their business model. To get there, they created Luminar, a big data insights division that utilizes about 2,000 external data points to deliver customized, transaction-based insights to marketers about Entravision’s Latino audience. The fastest-growing U.S. demographic, Latinos have amassed buying power worth more than a trillion dollars annually.

Image courtesy of Esri.
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Prognosis for GIS in Health Care Is Excellent

Using geo-coding and analytics to reshape operations and care is taking hold in healthcare systems. A recent conference on healthcare and geographic information systems from GIS software company Esri highlighted how the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Veterans Health Administration use technology to gain better understanding of patient and health trends. The related area of social work is also beginning to see some uptake of the technology.

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Raising the Bar With Analytics

More than half of managers surveyed strongly agree that their organizations need to step up analytics use, according to a 2013 global survey by MIT SMR and SAS Institute. In addition, survey data suggests that in companies where analytics has improved the ability to innovate, managers are more likely to share data with partners and suppliers.

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Thriving in a Big Data World

Words have become data; the physical states of our machinery have become data; our physical locations have become data; and even our interactions with each other have become data. Three recent books offer expert perspectives on the increasing power and importance of analytics.

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Should You Outsource Analytics?

Outsourcing analytics activities can offer benefits, but it requires a carefully constructed relationship between the company and the business process organization (BPO). Customers must be careful not to lose their expertise or their core intellectual property. Research suggests that companies with superior analytics capabilities will approach outsourcing differently than companies that are analytically challenged.

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Overheard at MIT

“Big Data in Manufacturing” was the theme of a daylong conference held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in November 2013 and sponsored by the MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation and the Accenture and MIT Alliance in Business Analytics. But the speakers’ insights weren’t restricted to manufacturing.

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Turning Big Data Into Smart Data

Current thinking has big data and analytics turning companies into data-driven powerhouses. But just having data doesn’t make a company smarter; if companies don’t know how to use data well in the first place, it can actually prevent companies from making the transition to data-driven operations. Jeanne Ross, the director of MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research, says that companies can build cultures that encourage people, even low-level employees, to work well with data by using evidence-based management.

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Are Algorithms Influencing Your Business?

The growing importance of algorithms to business and society is a little discussed feature of our increasingly digital world. These algorithms are the underpinnings of NSA surveillance, online search engines, corporate security, modern matchmaking and other activities in both the private and public sector. They can be a source of competitive advantage (think Google), play an operational role or drive marketing. Just what are algorithms, how are they used, and what happens when influential algorithms go wrong?

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Collecting Business Value from Energy Data

On the website of energy analytics startup Pilio, CEO and cofounder Catherine Bottrill says that it is a combination of technology, economics and politics that are instrumental in environmental problem solving. However, there is another ingredient necessary, says Bottrill: People. Bottrill is combining behavioral science with energy analytics to help organizations better understand — and manage — their energy use.

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How Analytics is Giving Fashion a Makeover

Recommendation engine StyleSeek is relying on data and analytics to drive business and fashion decisions — every single one of them. With about 50,000 actively registered users — impressive considering the company recently came out of private beta — and close to 200 retailers on board including the likes of Nordstrom, Macy’s and Anthropologie, StyleSeek may have tapped a new approach to a longstanding industry.

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The Relevance of Data: Going Behind The Scenes at LinkedIn

It is an understatement to say LinkedIn is growing like a weed. With 238 million members in over 200 countries, 2.8 million active company profiles, and 1 million professionally oriented groups, LinkedIn has become the world’s largest professional networking site.

Deepak Agarwal, LinkedIn’s director of relevance science, explains how his company uses data and analytics to sustain this growth.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Vermin Inc.
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Omnichannel Retailing and Data Analytics: Leveling the Playing Field

We’re in a new world of omnichannel retailing that includes physical, online and mobile channels. And those channels are blurring.

In a recent AllAnaltyics video and web chat, Analytics in the Age of Omnichannel Retailing, researchers Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Center for Digital Business, Yu Jeffrey Hu, associate professor at Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business, and Mohammad Rahman, associate professor at University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, discussed the challenges facing retailers.

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Big Data That’s Good for the Public

Facts: 900 million. Active sources: more than 100,000. Data sets: 30,000, with 200 million time series and 1.5 billion fact values.

Link all these data sources together and what do you get? Timely, if not crucial, contextual information about markets, trends, competitors, products and consumer opinions.

This is the promise of DOPA, a project funded under the umbrella of the European Union.

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