INFORMS NEWS: Members say analytics is right way to go

The INFORMS Strategic Planning Committee, led by INFORMS Past President Terry P. Harrison and Executive Director Melissa Moore, conducted a member survey in late August and early September designed to measure member attitudes about the analytics movement and INFORMS’ place in it. This survey follows up on a member survey conducted by Liberatore and Luo conducted in early 2011 whose findings are available in the November-December 2011 issue of Interfaces. In particular, INFORMS decision-makers are most interested to see if members still support INFORMS’ move to serve the analytics community, if they plan to get involved in any current or potential new analytics activities INFORMS could pursue, and whether perceptions and attitudes have changed since 2011.

From Aug. 21 through Sept. 15, a total of 1,331 usable responses were received for a 14 percent overall response rate. The demographic break out of the respondents mirrored the overall membership base well except that practice members were slightly over-represented and academic and student members slightly under-represented. Margin of error for the survey was +/-2.7 percent.In general members continue to be supportive of INFORMS expanding into analytics. They are especially supportive of potential outcomes that tend to support INFORMS’ overall mission. Around three-quarters of all respondents believe INFORMS expanding into analytics will enhance INFORMS’ ability to advance the goal of improving decision-making in organizations, leverage the knowledge and expertise of INFORMS and its members to advance the field of analytics, help organizations become users of advanced analytics methods and techniques, and help INFORMS attract more analytics professionals. However, about one-third believe INFORMS expanding into analytics could reduce the emphasis on O.R. within INFORMS. Similar proportions of academics and practitioners felt this way.

Most academics and practitioners indicate INFORMS should do more to offer increased analytics value to academics. Some of the more popular potential analytics activities include providing outlets for sharing of data between academics and practitioners, encouraging and enabling academic involvement in analytics research, developing teaching resources in analytics and developing analytics tracks at the INFORMS Annual Meeting.

Finally, the relationship between O.R. and analytics appears to be getting clearer. In 2013, nearly half of all respondents said that analytics and O.R. are two separate fields but with significant overlap. Another quarter each said that O.R. is a subset of analytics or analytics is a subset of O.R. In 2013, the three answers garnered almost equal responses of about one-third each.

To see more, go to INFORMS Self-Service Center (https://online.informs.org/informsssa), log in with your INFORMS credentials, select “View INFORMS Survey Results” from the menu and then “2013 Attitudes About Analytics Member Survey” to view a PowerPoint presentation given to the Board of Directors at its meeting on Oct. 6.