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Analytics Sept/Oct 2016
September/October 2016

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Unstructured data processing usage

There’s no such thing as unstructured data

It’s long been popular to talk about customer interaction data such as clickstream, social activity, inbound email and call center verbatims as “unstructured data.” Wikipedia says of the term that it “…refers to information that either does not have a pre-defined data model or is not organized in a pre-defined manner” [1]. Thus, unstructured data is a term used to describe data that does not conform to a typical relational database structure. There’s valuable customer knowledge in this so-called unstructured data. But if it’s unstructured, how should consumer-facing organizations handle this flow of large amounts of data? Read more →

Figure 1: Situational intelligence brings together the domain’s business, operational and location intelligence to provide a 360-degree operational view.

Making effective decisions in real time

Decision-making based on data has historically been slow and cumbersome due to the time and effort required to store and prepare it prior to personnel analyzing it. It is no longer viable for people to analyze data themselves due to the volume, velocity and variety of data from business systems and from operational systems and the Internet of Things (IoT) that stream data in real time. In addition, to fully leverage the value in data, organizations can no longer afford to wait hours, let alone days or weeks, for details and/or requisite information that supports decisions. Read more →

Risk is almost always understated, effort is misapplied and unrealistic models will remain undiscovered.

Reducing cybersecurity risk

Hillary Clinton’s emails, Wikileaks and Edward Snowden, among others, have directed much attention to cybersecurity. New work indicates that the most serious component of cybersecurity risk is probably the use of inferior methods to assess that risk. Read more →

Amsterdam is already known for being the bicycle capital of the world, but it’s pushing to get more people to ride them.

Smart cities: A world of opportunity in data

With its museums dedicated to master painters, canals that exude old-world charm and core city streets that date back to the 17th century, Amsterdam is a place very much in touch with its past. But the city, known for being progressive and open to new ideas, has also become a pioneer for what’s possible in our data-driven future to improve citizens’ quality of life, drive new efficiencies and increase sustainability. Read more →

One of the biggest reasons for unrealized success is that organizations don’t create a well-defined digital health and analytics strategy.

Healthcare analytics in action

As healthcare organizations transition to value-based care, there is an increasing need for actionable information. Many organizations do not know where to start in building an information framework that assists with decision-making and drives actions. Provider organizations, particularly large, complicated health systems, have incredible amounts of data spread over several hundred disparate systems that do not easily talk to one another. Read more →

Figure 1: The financial officer enters past forecasts and actuals along with the current forecast. A regression of actuals against forecasts is instantly run with the Excel LINEST formula, including an estimate of the standard error. This results in a SIP of simulated forecast trials with a graphical representation of distribution and prediction interval.

Monte Carlo for the masses

Monte Carlo simulation has been used to model uncertainties since the Manhattan atomic bomb project by blasting randomly generated inputs through mathematical models. Monte Carlo spreadsheet add-ins for personal computers have been available since the mid-1980s, however, it has not been a killer app because it takes specialized training to generate the required random inputs. Actually, a great invention of the 19th century, the light bulb, was never widely adopted because it took specialized training to generate the required electricity (just kidding). Thomas Edison subsequently proposed that experts with generators provide electricity for non-experts with light bulbs, and the result was the power-distribution network. Read more →


Inside Story: Problems & Solutions

So many problems, so many analytics-oriented solutions. So where do we start? How about at the beginning, which, according to Maria in the “Sound of Music,” is a very good place to start. Leading off in his “Executive Edge” column, Paul Roma, U.S. Deloitte analytics market leader, delves into the hot topic of “cognitive computing” and lists five “I wish I would haves” to avoid. How many of us have been there, done that and wished we had a do-over? Read more →

Executive Edge: Cognitive Computing: Five “I wish I would haves” to Avoid

Let’s talk about cognitive computing. After all, everybody else is, right? In fact, there’s so much chatter about cognitive, in the worlds of both academia and business, that your instincts probably tell you to ignore it as much as possible – to let everything cool down a bit so that we can recognize it for what it really is. But there’s just one problem with that approach. Read more →

Healthcare Analytics: Case Study – Power of Operational Analytics in Healthcare

Summer will be over by the time this article goes into publication. Overall, the U.S. economy is growing, albeit weakly in 2016, and the headwind of the November election might cause further slowdown in the healthcare sector. However, I do not expect any major shift in strategies adopted by the healthcare sector overall. The transformation that we are seeing in healthcare was long overdue. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) certainly catalyzed the change, but given the fact that despite spending 17 percent of GDP on healthcare, the fact that health outcomes in United States are worse than many other developed nations in the world was already driving change. Read more →

Informs Initiatives: Standing out in the crowd with aCAP

In the coming years, scores of businesses, industries and other organizations are expected to continue to significantly increase their use of analytics to improve their operations and performance, resulting in a rapid rise in the need for top analytics talent. In fact, according to a 2013 McKinsey Global Institute report, by 2018 the United States will face a shortage of about 190,000 data scientists and 1.5 million managers and data analysts who can interpret and implement data. Read more →

Conference Preview: Record turnout expected for 2016 INFORMS Annual Meeting

The 2016 INFORMS Annual Meeting is shaping up to be one of the largest conferences ever held in Nashville, Tenn. Hosted at the Music City Center and the adjacent Omni Hotel, the conference will include 1,351 sessions, with each 90-minute session featuring four talks for a total of more than 5,000 presentations spread over 74 rooms. If the latest advances in operations research, management sciences and analytics along with the sheer volume of presentations don’t take your breath away, add to that the sizzling combination of American music, Southern hospitality, unbelievable cuisine and a boundless spectrum of enjoyment that the host city has to offer. You do not want to be anywhere else on this planet during Nov. 13-16. Read more →

Five-Minute Analyst: Presidential acceptance speeches

It’s U.S. presidential election season, which means there’s a once-every-four-years opportunity to apply some analytics. While a seemingly unending number of things could be analyzed, I’ve chosen this month to spend a few minutes looking at the campaign speeches themselves. Read more →

Thinking Analytically: Dating website matchups

As the owner of a new dating website, you’re working on the logic on how to best match men and women together. Providing people with good dating candidates is important to keep them interested in using the website and for relationship success. So far, your first clients are 10 women and 10 men. Read more →







Grocery store data speeds early detection of food-borne illness

Foodborne illnesses, like salmonella, E. Coli and norovirus infections, are a major public health concern affecting more than one out of six Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During a foodborne illness outbreak, rapidly identifying the contaminated food source is vital to minimizing illness, loss and impact on society. Read more →

Gartner: Top 25 North American Supply Chain Undergraduate Programs

Gartner, Inc. recently released the findings from its biennial Top 25 North American Supply Chain Undergraduate Programs report. Fifty-one institutions participated in the report that is intended to support chief supply chain officers (CSCOs), heads of supply chain strategy and supply chain HR partners in building a strong portfolio of university recruiting and internship partners. Read more →

Study: Tweets better than Google Trends at forecasting TV ratings

How well does the emotional and instantaneous content in tweets perform relative to the more deliberate searches recorded in Google Trends in forecasting future TV ratings? In a massive big data analysis using data from Twitter, Google Trends and other widely used websites for entertainment information, a forthcoming article in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science finds that mining Twitter content is significantly more effective than Google Trends in its ability to predict future TV ratings. Read more →



INFORMS Annual Meeting
Nov. 13-16, 2016, Nashville, Tenn.


Foundations of Modern Predictive Analytics
Nov. 17-18, 2016, Nashville, Tenn. 


The Arithmetic of Uncertainty: A Cure for the Flaw of Averages
A one-day (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) workshop with optional hands-on computer lab
Sept. 14: Washington, D.C. (Crystal City)
Sept. 20: Houston
Sept. 21: Dallas
For more information and to register, click here.


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