Love School of Business hosts Business Analytics Conference

Business managers and professionals in the local community attended the March conference to learn about the latest analytics trends and applications available to support companies.

Elon’s Martha and Spencer Love School of Business hosted the inaugural Elon Business Analytics Conference on March 25, 2015, in Durham, North Carolina.

The conference brought together more than 80 professionals from companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Guaranty, Carson Dellosa Publishing, American Express, Martin Marietta, Wells Fargo and Southland Electrical Supply. Industry experts and business leaders from Amazon Web Services, IBM, SAP, SAS, Tableau, Teradata Marketing Applications and United Guarant shared best practices for using analytics to make smarter business decisions.

In the keynote address, “Innovating and competing on analytics,” Matt M. Walsh, managing director of the Analytics Center of Excellence at SAP, stressed the importance of moving from the idea of managing big data into managing “smart data,” as well as better integrating analytics with business processes. Walsh shared case studies on how companies have increased their use of data for better decision-making in various industries, including automotive, education, retail, sports and energy.

Larry Pizette, senior manager of solutions architecture at Amazon Web Services, presented “Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing and big data.” He discussed simplifying big data processing and explained how each AWS cloud product can help organizations support innovation, analytics and growth, while at the same time, lower IT cost. 

During “Visualize & inform: Explore, visualize and present your data,” Matt McWhorter, head of customer solutions at Tableau, addressed the challenges with data optimization and how to extract value from data deluge. He showed a live-demo on how Tableau enables companies to create a visual dashboard to support strategic and operational decision-making within the organization in only few minutes.

James A. Moncure II, global PMQ sales leader, predictive and business intelligence team at IBM, explored what companies are doing today to optimize their assets’ deployment and utilization. In his presentation, “The quest for asset optimization,” Moncure explained how analytics can be used to prevent asset failure before it happens, saving millions of dollars. 

The “Making things happen: Putting analytics into practice” presentation by Michael Hitt, senior vice president of operations and analytics at United Guaranty, focused on how to use analytics for business process review and improvement. He described how his team was able to improve the company’s bottom line and efficiencies significantly in a short period of time by proactively managing inefficient processes. 

Manoj Chari, R&D director of operations at SAS, presented “Supporting business decisions with analytics,” in which he discussed linear programming and optimization techniques used by large organizations, such as P&G, to make resource allocation decisions.

The closing presentation, “Analytics in action: Using analytics to power marketing,” was delivered by John Timmerman, global industry evangelist at Teradata Marketing Applications. Timmerman shared how data within organizations can be used to build long-lasting relationships with customers.   

“Today’s companies face challenges that require new ways of thinking, new ways of organizing, and new ways of turning ideas into actions,” said Assistant Professor Haya Ajjan, who organized the conference. “That’s where business analytics comes into play to help organizations shape solutions to the problems they have today.”

The next Business Analytics Conference will be held April 2016.

Beginning in September 2015, Elon will launch its M.S. in Management program with a concentration in organizational analytics. The program is open to students from all undergraduate majors and fits the career needs of both new graduates and working professionals.