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Analytics Magazine

Current Issue

July/August 2016

Digital Edition



Politics & Analytics: Who holds the keys to the White House?

According to quantitative historian Allan Lichtman, Trump has a serious chance to win the popular vote. Based on his “13 Keys” model [5], Lichtman called the 2016 election inconclusive as of May, with three of the 13 variables yet to be determined. “The 13 Keys model has been remarkably stable through all kinds of variations that led people to say, ‘This election is different,’ ” Lichtman says. “This record of reliability and the implications of which variables made it into the model still indicate that presidential elections are about governance, not campaigning.” Read more →


Missing Metric: The human side of sales analytics

The days of thinking about sales professionals as glad-handers who achieve results through client lunches and wheedling are over. As data-driven sales and marketing approaches take off, a new breed of sales staff is helping category-leading organizations achieve their audacious revenue targets via data science, predictive analytics and automation. The trend is giving rise to an exciting field of new sales tech that already is showing positive returns. Read more →


Analytical Journey: Navigating the big data analytics SaaS terrain

With the continued hype from so many big data companies, it is hard to understand the best way to start down the big data analytics path. After all, the reason we use big data software tools is to improve our data analytics, not to see if we can get the latest and greatest big data tool to work. We have seen too many “square-peg” solutions pounded into “round-hole” problems. Read more →


Healthcare Analytics: Analytics and machine learning

The U.S. healthcare system is well on its way in the transition to value-based payment models that reward providers for delivering quality outcomes and keeping patients healthy. In fact, as of March 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that an estimated 30 percent of Medicare payments were already tied to these new alternative payment systems. Read more →


Healthcare Fraud: Analytics — The radiation badge for healthcare FWA

While it has been a problem since the beginning of modern healthcare, in the past few years public focus on fraud, waste and abuse (FWA) in healthcare has grown substantially, as has the amount of money lost in the U.S. healthcare system as a result. Recent testimony to Congress by Ann Maxwell, assistant inspector general for evaluation and inspections at the Office of Inspector General (OIG), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), reported “the estimated improper payments for Medicare and Medicaid to be approximately $88.8 billion” in FY2015. Read more →


Software Survey: Forecasting 2016

Welcome to the biennial forecasting software survey, where we take stock of the latest technologies and trends in forecasting affecting both vendors and users. The data used to develop this survey includes responses from 19 vendors for 26 software packages that span a range of capabilities and price points, with the results from this survey summarized below. Read more →


Inside Story: Prediction problems

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” A number of sources have been credited with making some version of that statement, from Danish physicist Niels Bohr to legendary baseball player/philosopher Yogi Berra. Berra and Bohr are both right: Making predictions about the future is tough. But that’s never stopped folks from making predictions, and since we’re knee-deep in the U.S. presidential campaign, modern-day Nostradamuses and political pundits are coming out of the woodwork to make predictions regarding the outcome of the race to the White House between presumptive Republican and Democratic presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Read more →

Healthcare Analytics: Technologies converging but hurdles remain

With 2016 half over, we have seen many developments in the political and business world during the first six months, including the most recent Microsoft acquisition of LinkedIn. Meanwhile, the healthcare analytics space has stayed quite vibrant. According to a report published by Rock Health, a start-up accelerator turned venture fund, investment in healthcare analytics and digital health during the first quarter alone grew to nearly a billion dollars, of which $307 million was invested in big data analytics and population health management technology companies. However, deployment and adoption of technology solutions, especially digital health solutions, is still struggling to pick up momentum. In this article I will share my thoughts about the hurdles faced by healthcare organizations despite advancements and convergence of various technologies. Read more →

INFORMS Initiatives: Team competition, CAP and good deals

INFORMS recently announced a new International O.R. & Analytics Team Competition, a unique student competition that provides a real-world workplace experience. Sponsored by Syngenta, the competition will feature teams of university students using identical data sets and software systems to solve a challenging business problem via an O.R./analytics approach. A panel of industry experts will judge the submissions. Read more →

Conference Preview: INFORMS Annual Meeting set for Nashville

Nashville, Tenn., the Music City, will host the 2016 INFORMS Annual Meeting on Nov. 13-16. While the conference will feature the latest advances in operations research, management sciences and analytics, the host city will offer a sizzling combination of American music, southern hospitality, unbelievable cuisine and a boundless spectrum of enjoyment. Read more →

Five-Minute Analyst: Dark side envelopment analysis

A repeated theme in “The Force Awakens,” the latest blockbuster movie in the “Star Wars” saga, is Kylo Ren’s secret fear of not being as “evil” as his hero, Darth Vader. We, as analysts, have the mythical ability to see if this is actually true. We’re going to use the Force – and the standard Simplex LP solver in MS Excel – to see if this is true. Read more →

Thinking Analytically: Elevators

The building I work in has three elevators and 12 floors. Like some elevators, these have displays above them that indicate the current floor that the elevator is on and also the travel direction of the elevator. Read more →






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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