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Method to March Madness

If it’s March, it must be time for March Madness, the annual college basketball lollapalooza that compels untold millions of people across the country to try and predict the outcome of a 64-team tournament (not including play-in games) in hopes of winning the office or online pool and all the glory and money that goes with it. The beauty (and perhaps irony) of March Madness is that no one – not the college basketball junkie, not the office nerd, not even the analytics guru well-versed in predictive analytics who studies “bracketology” (all three may be the same person) – knows the outcome in advance, so anyone has an equal chance of winning . . . or do they?

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Barkley’s analytics bark: bigger than his bite?

As the editor of Analytics magazine (as well as OR/MS Today, the membership magazine of INFORMS), we naturally sing the praises of the analytics profession, and tend to take it for granted that the world understands and appreciates all that analytics offers. And then along comes Charles Barkley, a basketball Hall of Famer now doing commentary for TBS in conjunction with telecasts of NBA games, to shake us out of our complacency.

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Are analysts primitive Homo Analyticus?

I enjoy maturity and evolution models of all kinds, especially for business. As the name implies, maturity models for information technologies or management accounting practices, for example, have stages of development that provide confidence that regardless of the model’s current stage – low or high – there is always a next step up that can be attained in an evolutionary way.

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Smart people, stupid choices

Smart people, stupid choices

The final leg of horse racing’s prestigious Triple Crown race, the Belmont Stakes, was held this past Saturday. The favored horse, I’ll Have Another, was scratched due to a leg injury. For gamblers who would likely to have bet on I’ll Have Another for the Belmont, maybe this saved them some money. Why? I will get to that in a moment.

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What is analytics and how does it relate to Operations Research?

What is analytics and how does it relate to Operations Research?

I was just reading an article on the INFORMS Analytics section, intriguingly titled Analytics, OR and INFORMS – Where the three meet. I am responsible for the Analytics department of a growing digital marketing agency and I have a long career in Operations Research behind me, so the question “What is analytics and how does it relate to Operations Research?“ I wrestle with.

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The Analytics of Paid Search

The Analytics of Paid Search

Because of its direct response and data rich nature, paid search is arguably the most analytic of digital marketing activities. If you go to Google, Bing, or other search engine and type in a search query your browser will return a new page: the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).  Generally on the left hand side you will see the results that the engine (that’s how the Technorati refer to Search Engines) regards as the most relevant.

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Introduction to Digital Marketing for Analytics Professionals

Introduction to Digital Marketing for Analytics Professionals

Every day I come to work in digital marketing I find everything has been overturned and needs to be radically rethought. It’s a blast. I made the jump from offline in 2000. I already had a 15-year analytics career behind me but there was very little tolerance for my ignorance.

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When push comes to shove

In a recent posting on The New Yorker website, author John Seabrook comments on crowd disasters, noting a difference between such disasters in the developed and developing worlds. In the developed world, they usually occur at big sales events (such as the 2008 Black Friday incident at a Long Island, N.Y., Wal-Mart where an employee was trampled to death), rock concerts, nightclubs and sporting events (i.e., commercial events).

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Health care debate needs dose of analytics

Led by House Speaker John Boehner, many Republicans and other critics of last year’s health care reform legislation describe it as a “job-killer bill” that will eliminate between 650,000 and 1.6 million jobs and waste multi-millions of dollars of taxpayer money.

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Getting ready for Chicago conference

Today I made my airline and hotel reservations to attend the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research in Chicago April 10-12.

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Headlines

ITIF: Expand computer science education to keep up with demand

Computer skills are in high demand among employers in a wide range of industries, not just tech-related fields, yet despite growing interest in the subject, a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) finds that too few U.S. students are taking quality computer science classes at the high school and university levels. ITIF makes the case for public action to support and maintain the groundswell of interest in computer science and capture the economic and social benefits that will come from fostering a more highly skilled workforce. Read more →

Report outlines benefits of data-driven customer experiences

According to a new report by Forbes Insights and SAS, “Data Elevates the Customer Experience: New Ways of Discovering and Applying Customer Insights,” the benefits of brands evolving to data-driven customer experiences (data-driven CX) are wide-ranging. The study notes data-driven methods enhance revenue generation and enable cost reduction, as well as accelerate process efficiencies and quality improvements. Read more →

Debunking myths about harm from artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) holds great promise for economic growth and social progress, but pervasive, inaccurate myths about hypothetical harms could encourage policymakers to retard further innovation in the technology, according to a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). ITIF, a leading tech policy think tank, makes the case that policymakers should actively support further development and use of artificial intelligence if we want society to reap the myriad benefits it has to offer. Read more →

Report: Technology rarely used to detect fraud

Technology is an important tool to help companies fight fraud, but many are not succeeding in using data analytics as a primary tool for fraud detection. Meanwhile, fraudsters are leveraging technology to perpetrate fraud, according to a new report by KPMG International, “Global Profiles of the Fraudster.” Read more →

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