INFORMS in the News
Analytics, BI Programs Combine with Certification for Strong Salaries
“Analytics professionals work in many industries,” says Louise Wehrle, certification manager at INFORMS. “We have had candidates from military, from professors of analytics programs, from health care, from aerospace and from consulting companies who deliver analytic services to all of the above and more.”
She also notes that college professors often complete the CAP so that they can recommend similar programs to their students and ensure their curriculum covers all necessary material.
MIT Names Former INFORMS President as Chancellor
Two longtime members of the faculty — who first arrived at MIT in the early 1980s as graduate students — have been named provost and chancellor, the Institute’s two most senior academic posts...
Reif also announced that Cynthia Barnhart, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is MIT’s new chancellor. Barnhart has been associate dean of the School of Engineering since 2007; she served as acting dean of engineering from 2010 to 2011.
Math models and national security
High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Following an anthrax attack, who should receive the first antibiotics? If food aid is limited should 2,000 children each receive a little or should the aid be distributed to a few?
Tackling questions such as these has earned Lawrence Wein the nickname Dr Doom. The professor of management science at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business [and former editor-in-chief of Operations Research] teaches courses on operations, mathematical analysis and inventory and queueing theory. Such theories form the backbone of business operations for companies like McDonald's, so that it knows how many cashiers and people flipping burgers are needed to serve the lunchtime rush at any given franchise. But the main focus of his research applies these theories to questions of public health and national security.
Giving INFORMS Analytics Students a Chance to Shine
As I shared a week or so ago, INFORMS, the leading organization for analytics professionals, has a great opportunity for analytics students. It wants to award one student a scholarship to use for attending its upcoming business analytics conference.
If you doubt the value of this opportunity, consider the experience of last year's scholarship winner, Alex Akulov. I caught up with Akulov the other day to get his advice for potential participants... and to find out what he's been up to in the year since winning the 2013 contest. (See INFORMS, SAS Name Student Winners .)
His advice for students is to participate, and his experience stands as the reason why.
allanalytics interview with INFORMS President Steve Robinson
Every so often, I get the chance to talk with folks deeply involved with INFORMS, or as it's formally known, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. I find their passion unfailing.
I was reminded of this during a recent phone conversation I had with Stephen Robinson, the organization's newly announced 2014 president. In a time of such increasing interest in analytics as a career, Robinson stands out as somebody worth emulating.
O.R. #2 in US News List of Best Business Jobs
Anne Robinson, director of supply chain strategy and analytics for Verizon Wireless and past president of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, says, in a nutshell, operations research analysts provide the insights for businesses to make decisions at the next level. "This is really decision guidance. Companies are trying to get value out of big data and analytics platforms investments, and they need the right talent to take it from raw data to an intelligent asset for business," says Robinson, whose focus includes developing models to ensure Verizon stores have enough inventory to meet demand.
O.R. New to US News List
Many of the “best jobs” hadn’t even been on the list in prior years. Among them: nurse practitioner, operations research analyst, information security analyst, nail technician and structural iron and steelworker.
If you ask the wrong question...
Each of these steps is disruptive to an organization. However, buying software is probably the least disruptive, so that’s where many companies choose to start! Gary Cokins, a veteran in the area of analytics and organizational change, says this:
“Organizations seem hesitant to adopt analytics. Is this due to evaluation paralysis or brain freeze? Most organizations make the mistake of believing that applying analytics is 90 percent math and 10 percent organizational change management with employee behavior alteration. In reality it is the other way around; it is more likely 5 percent math and 95 percent about people.” (source: http://www.informs.org/ORMS-Today/Public-Articles/February-Volume-39-Number-1/Obstacle-course-for-analytics)
Analytics is top business technology innovation priority
Our benchmark research shows that analytics is the top business technology innovation priority; 39% of organizations rank it first. This is no surprise as new information sources and new technologies in data processing, storage, networking, databases and analytic software are combining to offer capabilities for using information never before possible.
Analytics Growing in Natural Gas, Oil Exploration
One IT firm that's developing big data analytics technology for frackers is Ayata. The company was founded in 2003 as the result of a Canadian research project, and set out building "prescriptive" analytics tools that can harness hybrid data sets to generate recommendations. A couple of years ago, the company realized that its technology could be applied to the burgeoning world of fracking, according to Ayata CEO Atanu Basu.
Math model for surviving a nuclear attack. Early flight?
“I disagree with the conclusions,” says Lawrence Wein, an operations research scientist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. “He fails to account for several important issues that are vitally important for policy recommendations.” Anyone heading out into the apocalyptic wasteland will have no idea how long the transit time will really be. Because of this uncertainty, he says, the official U.S. government recommendation is “to shelter for at least 12 hours” after the blast. Wein also worries about “the collective behavior problem.” In the wake of the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, a few thousand people were told to evacuate and nearly 200,000 people took to the streets. “The model is assuming that you have each person on puppet strings and can dictate their actions. This is simply not going to be the case in the aftermath.”
Inspirations leaders counteract employee cynicism, says OrgSci study
The antidote to employee cynicism is an inspirational leader, according to a recent study.
This is important to know, considering cynicism makes people resistant to change, noted researchers from University of Toronto, the University of Buffalo and George Mason University. However, having a leader who is able to inspire confidence in employees can spur welcoming feelings toward change.
The study, which was published last year in the journal Organization Science but only publicized now, was conducted in a unique set: correctional officers.
Hang up or hold on? Queuing and customer patience
Press "1" if you're tired of being on hold! Nobody likes to wait, but since customer service can't be packaged to sit on a shelf ready when we need it, everybody has to "get in line" for help from banks, credit card companies, stores, healthcare or tech support. These days, that usually means dialing a call center somewhere in the world, which makes understanding caller patience increasingly important. A recent study, co-authored by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business professors Baris Ata and Che-Lin Su, and published in the journal Management Science, offers a more accurate approach to modeling caller patience than ever before, which could help call centers reduce customer waiting time on hold while helping businesses too.
Role of OR in Analytics
Should you outsource analytics?
Analytics is the latest in a string of activities companies are outsourcing to business process organizations (BPOs). As the telecommunications boom that began in the late 1990s led to improving communications with emerging markets, Fortune 500 companies began shifting call centers offshore to locations such as India and the Philippines to take advantage of less expensive labor. India was especially attractive because of its large English-speaking population and highly educated labor force.3 Once call centers were established to handle customer service and telesales, companies began identifying other activities that might be suitable for outsourcing or offshoring: IT services, computer programming, legal research, application processing and accounting.
Airline Seating Plan: Focus on Luggage
Now an academic study suggests airlines could cut boarding time by seating passengers based on how many carry-on bags they are hauling.
The study from Clarkson University School of Business in New York recognizes that a lot of boarding time is wasted as passengers shuffle around the cabin looking for space to stow their carry-on bags in the overhead compartment.
Under a boarding method suggested by R. John Milne, an assistant professor of engineering management, passengers are seated from the back of the plane to the front and from the windows to the aisles.
Milne adds another wrinkle: He also suggest airlines seat passengers in a way that spreads the carry-on luggage throughout the plane. In each row, the airline would seat at least one passenger with two bags, one passenger with one bag and one passenger with no bags.
New Year's Resolutions: Make the Right Decision
What if, despite our tips, you nonetheless fail to achieve your New Year’s resolutions? Fortunately, you will have plenty of other chances. In a paper forthcoming in Management Science, a team of researchers (including one of us) documents “the fresh start effect.” We analyzed the frequency with which Americans searched for the term “diet” on Google, students visited a university gym and people signed up to create goals on stickK.com. We found that the beginnings of many cycles — including the start of a new week, month, year and semester (for students) — are associated with increased interest in dieting as well as increases in exercise and goal creation. People also intensify their pursuit of aspirations following birthdays and federal holidays.
Behind the Scenes with 2013 Edelman Finalist Kroger
Kroger’s operations research team, under the leadership of CIO Christopher Hjelm, worked closely with pharmacy business teams to design algorithms for an intuitive simulation and optimization model to reduce out-of-stock medicines. Since 2011, the company says it has lowered pharmacy inventory by $120 million, seen $80 million in additional revenue and achieved $10 million in labor savings.
At the heart of these efforts is the inventory management program developed for the more than 160 million prescriptions filled last year at Kroger’s nearly 2,000 store pharmacies.
For its innovation, the program was named one of six finalists for the 2013 Franz Edelman Award for achievement in operations research and the management sciences. The prize is given annually for excellence in advanced analytics by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.
Organization Science Study: Open Collaboration Likely to Grow
Open collaboration – which has brought the world Bitcoin, TEDx and Wikipedia – is likely to expand into new domains and displace traditional organizations, according to a paper in a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).
“Open Collaboration: Principles and Performance,” by Sheen S. Levine of Columbia University and Michael J. Prietula of Emory University, appears in the INFORMS journal Organization Science. The study can be viewed here.
OrgSci Study: Office Parties Bad for Morale
Office holiday parties are a polarizing subject. Whether or not you like them probably depends a lot on your relationship with your coworkers and your boss’s propensity for inappropriate drunken remarks. But the question of why these parties take place isn’t particularly complicated: Common sense holds that they’re a good way for companies to build morale and forge a closer-knit workplace.
A paper published in a recent issue of Organization Science, however, suggests out that for members of underrepresented groups, this might not be the case—these parties can actually be counterproductive. It’s just the latest in a growing body of research highlighting how tricky it can be to get dissimilar people to form close bonds.
In “Getting Closer at the Company Party: Integration Experiences, Racial Dissimilarity, and Workplace Relationships” ..., Tracy Dumas of Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business, Katherine Phillips of Columbia Business School, and Nancy Rothbard of Wharton conducted studies of two sets of survey data to examine the relationship between what researchers call “integration behaviors”—holiday parties and other forms of non-work socializing—and closeness between co-workers.