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Modern machine-learning-powered anomaly detection systems can finally meet the needs that traditional BI dashboards never will. Photo Courtesy of | © Roland IJdema

Eyes on the road, not dashboards

Car dashboards are simple visual indicators of a complex machine with many parts that performs a high-stakes task in a context of many overlapping, conflicting rules and goals: personal convenience, safety, minimum travel time, courtesy to other drivers and so on. The speedometer, perhaps one of the most important indicators, serves one key purpose: to show how fast you’re going, mainly so you avoid getting a ticket. Often the biggest indicator on the display, its job is not to teach the physics of motion or of many-body collisions (although if you stare only at the speedometer, you will certainly gain firsthand experience in the latter), but to give you just enough information to remain compliant with one of the main rules of the road. Read more →

Sales data take on new meaning and reveal new understanding when examined on some type of relative basis. Photo Courtesy of | © christianchan

Basic sales analysis

Most companies have massive databases of historical sales data, but few firms invest the money and staff time to mine the intelligence hidden in those databases. It seems that everyone has sales data, but almost no one does a good job of analyzing that data. The purpose of this article is to present some basic ideas on sales analysis that might serve as a starting point for any novice who might be assigned the task of analyzing a firm’s sales data. The discussion is written from the perspective of sales data at a manufacturing company, but the concepts apply equally to retailers and service companies. Read more →

The first thing to know about sampling methods is that there are two main types: “probability” and “non-probability” methods. Photo Courtesy of | © iamnee

Survey sampling

Every 10 years, Americans receive a familiar questionnaire in the mail known as the population census. This massive undertaking is an attempt to survey every citizen and is typically used to understand the changing demographics of the country. While a census like this might be the most accurate method of research, administering a survey to every member of the population is almost always beyond the scope of a standard marketing research study. Read more →

Challenges to implementation in the healthcare industry include the governance necessary to ensure that analytics initiatives are well understood and enthusiastically supported throughout the organization. Photo Courtesy of | © scanrail

What other industries can teach healthcare about data governance

Basing decisions on reliable, well-understood data has become table stakes in many industries. Furthermore, the advanced use of analytics to derive hidden insights from information has quickly become the new frontier for creating competitive advantage. Data-driven decision-making has completely transformed a variety of industries, beginning several decades ago. Healthcare, on the other hand, is still in its infancy with respect to leveraging reliable and consistent data to improve decision-making and ultimately organizational performance and the health of populations. Read more →

Clearly, most people are both familiar and comfortable with the notion of simulation, accepting that we can use computer software to make a sufficiently realistic rendering of the world as it is or as it might be. Photo courtesy of Simio LLC

Simulation: the new and improved reality show

The idea of simulation is now a part of our culture. For example, the popular “Matrix” movies had it that our perceived reality was actually a simulation, while a recent episode of the British series “Dr. Who” imagined that the world we knew was a simulation being used by an alien race to fully study our planet and to map out its weaknesses for conquest. Plots could incorporate simulation because the viewers were already familiar with the concept. In fact, this seems to have spawned a recurring question on the Quora website about the possibility that we are, in fact, living in a simulation. Read more →


Inside Story: Oh, what a night!

Oh, what a relief it was to spend five days at an event where fact-based, data-driven decisions are the norm rather than the exception. An event where “fake news” masquerading as “real news” is exposed for what it is, and “real news” is given the attention it deserves. Just for fun, toss in a heaping helping of the national pastime showcased on its grandest stage – the World Series – and you’ve got my version of heaven on Earth. Read more →

Executive Edge: Prediction in the public sector

Data can appear lifeless and dull on the surface – especially government data – but the thought of it should actually get you excited. Data is a very interesting and powerful thing. First off, data is exactly the stuff we bother to write down – and for good reason. But its potential far transcends functions such as tracking and bookkeeping: Data encodes great quantities of experience, and computers can learn from that experience to make everything work better. Read more →

ANALYZE THIS!: Mathematical modeling gives way to interesting analytics topics

One sunny Sunday morning this past October, I realized that it had been exactly 25 years since the day I completed and turned in my dissertation, a not-very-interesting treatise on closed multiclass non-Markovian queueing networks. Impulsively pulling the hardbound volume off of my bookshelf for the first time in years, I found myself thumbing through its pages, struggling to make sense of the notation and equations and proofs. Read more →

Healthcare Analytics: Social determinants of health

The last two months were eventful for healthcare. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) endured another repeal-and-replace attack in congress. The latest bill, known as the Graham-Cassidy bill, was withdrawn by Senate Republican leaders when it became clear that the bill would not receive the 50 votes needed for passage. Read more →

Newsmakers: Salary survey, online love, bull market & more

Burtch Works study: ‘Salaries of Predictive Analytics Professionals’ According to a recently released Burtch Works study on “Salaries of Predictive Analytics Professionals 2017,” senior-level executives saw the largest increase in salaries from 2016 to 2017, and industry diversification of employment has diluted the concentration of such professionals in financial services and marketing/advertising in favor of consulting and technology. Read more →

Five-Minute Analyst: PuzzlOR solution

This article is part solution, part retrospective and part tribute to my longtime friend and colleague, John Toczek, the longtime author of the “The PuzzlOR” column in OR/MS Today and the “Thinking Analytically” column in Analytics magazine. In the last issue of both publications, John “cryptically” announced that he was ending his column as his “day job” had expanded and demanded more of his time. Read more →

Conference Preview: WSC turns 50: simulation everywhere!

The Winter Simulation Conference (WSC) was first held in 1967 as the Conference on the Applications of Simulation Using GPSS. As we celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, we are proud that the conference is widely regarded today as the premier international forum for disseminating recent advances in the field of dynamic systems modeling and simulation. Read more →










Analytics Blog

Electoral College put to the math test

With the campaign two months behind us and the inauguration of Donald Trump two days away, isn’t it time to put the 2016 U.S. presidential election to bed and focus on issues that have yet to be decided? Of course not.


Survey: Despite the hype, AI adoption still in early stages

The hype surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) is intense, but for most European businesses surveyed in a recent study by SAS, adoption of AI is still in the early or even planning stages. The good news is, the vast majority of organizations have begun to talk about AI, and a few have even begun to implement suitable projects. There is much optimism about the potential of AI, although fewer were confident that their organization was ready to exploit that potential. Read more →

Data professionals spend almost as much time prepping data as analyzing it

Nearly 40 percent of data professionals spend more than 20 hours per week accessing, blending and preparing data rather than performing actual analysis, according to a survey conducted by TMMData and the Digital Analytics Association. More than 800 DAA community members participated in the survey held earlier this year. The survey revealed that data access, quality and integration present persistent, interrelated roadblocks to efficient and confident analysis across industries. Read more →



2017 Winter Simulation Conference (WSC 2017)
Dec. 3-6, 2017, Las Vegas


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