INFORMS NEWS: Davenport to headline INFORMS Analytics Conference

Set for March 30-April 1, 2014 in Boston, event will feature “the best analytics work being done today.”

Thomas Davenport

Thomas Davenport

Thomas Davenport, analytics pioneer and thought-leader, will headline the 2014 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and O.R. with a keynote address on “Analytics 3.0: Where Big Data and Traditional Analytics Meet.” The meeting, scheduled for March 30-April 1, is expected to draw more than 900 analytics professionals to Boston for three days of intensive engagement and real-world learning on the science and art of analytics and operations research.

Davenport’s 2006 Harvard Business Review article and best-selling book, “Competing on Analytics,” launched the revolution that has made analytics the hottest business trend and “data scientist” the sexiest job title in business today. His most recent book, “Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics,” has been called “the quantitative literacy guide” for managers. Davenport is the President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology & Management at Babson College, Fellow of the MIT Center for Digital Business, co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics and senior advisor to Deloitte Analytics.

Showcase of Award-Winning Analytics

In addition to Davenport’s keynote, attendees will see presentations from the “best of the best” in applied analytics and O.R. Each finalist for the 2014 Franz Edelman Award, the highest international award for achievement in operations research, will present their work on March 31, with the winner announced at the Awards Gala and Banquet that evening. The 2014 champion will join a prestigious lineup of past Edelman Award winners, including the Dutch Delta Program Commissioner, HP, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, General Motors and Netherlands Railways. Other high-impact work will be showcased throughout the meeting in talks by finalists and winners of the INFORMS Prize, Daniel H. Wagner Prize, UPS George D. Smith Prize, Innovative Applications in Analytics Award, Gary L. Lilien Marketing Science Practice Prize and the coveted Spreadsheet “Guru” Prize.

Hand-Picked Topics and Speakers

The key to the conference’s ongoing success is its program committee, chaired this year by Freeman Marvin, VP and Executive Principal Analyst at Innovative Decisions, Inc. The 36 members of the committee include analysts and managers from companies such as Google, Target, IBM, Chevron, Amtrak, SAS, Chevron and UPS, as well as leading universities and government agencies. The committee develops the topic tracks, selects speakers and organizes the presentations that comprise the heart of the conference.

“Our goal is to bring together the best analytics work being done today that helps organizations make smarter, fact-based business decisions,” says Marvin. “The conference emphasis will be on real-world analytics across industries and applications, along with skill-building tutorials, software training, and exceptional networking.”

The conference committee has designated eight topical tracks for the 2014 invited speaker program: The Analytics Revolution, Healthcare Applications, Big Data, Marketing Analytics, Decision Analysis, Soft Skills and Supply Chain Management. New this year is a track organized by the INFORMS Roundtable that will feature world-class O.R. projects in established and mature analytics companies. The program will be rounded out by six tracks of member-contributed talks plus additional tracks on software solutions.

Present a Poster and Save on Registration

While most speakers are hand-picked by the committee, interested students and professionals may submit a poster proposal and receive a discount off regular registration rates. The submission deadline is Jan. 17, 2014.

The poster format lends itself to works-in-progress on which the presenter is looking for feedback, successful projects that may not be extensive enough for a 50-minute talk, and corporate or consulting work subject to nondisclosure restrictions that can still be presented at a high level.

Old Ironsides and the Boston Harbor area.

Old Ironsides and the Boston Harbor area.

Career-Building Programs

Two special programs within the conference are designed for future analytics leaders. The Early Career Connection, for junior faculty and young industry researchers, provides participants with insights into the critical problems facing business, helps them broaden their research agendas and provides important networking contacts.

The INFORMS Professional Colloquium offers a full-day, interactive workshop on career guidance for master’s and Ph.D. students who are interested in careers outside of academia. The colloquium will be held March 29, and students may then attend the remainder of the conference.

Participants in both programs can register for the full conference at a discounted rate. However, candidates must be nominated and selected to attend. Limited financial aid is available for the colloquium. The nomination deadline is Feb. 14.

Workshops on Technology and Soft Skills

While the conference formally kicks off with welcome receptions on Sunday (March 30) evening, the entire day is packed with valuable learning opportunities. Attendees can take advantage of in-depth technology workshops presented by software solutions companies, as well as a full-day workshop on soft skills. The Soft Skills Workshop follows a case study through various phases of an analysis project, providing participants with hands-on experience in the skills that can make or break a successful implementation. The INFORMS career service, called Analytics Connect, also kicks off on Sunday, enabling employers and job seekers to mingle in a casual environment.

Super-Saver Conference Rates

Super-saver rates of $915 for INFORMS members and $1,150 for nonmembers are available until Feb. 10, 2014. Organizations can take advantage of the $827 team discount rate when they send three or more attendees. All meals for two days are included in the fees.

The conference venue, the new Westin Boston Waterfront, is located in Boston’s exciting waterfront area, with great restaurants, shops and public green space – plus easy access to all the history and attractions that make Boston such a fascinating city.

For additional conference information, visit: