INFORMS initiatives

As always, this month’s issue of OR/MS Today presents a wide world of topics – from predicting political elections to pedestrian and evacuation dynamics – that reflect the diverse professional, research and academic interests of the INFORMS membership, but the focus of this column is on a couple of initiatives that could have a profound impact on the future of INFORMS, its members and its activities.

As first reported in these pages last year in an interview with INFORMS President Terry Harrison [“The State of INFORMS,” OR/MS Today, December 2011], INFORMS is preparing to launch a first-of-its-kind Certified Analytics Program (CAP) in 2013. Scott Nestler, Jack Levis and Bill Klimack – members of both the INFORMS Certification Task Force and the INFORMS Analytics Certification Job Task Analysis Working Group – provide an update on the program beginning on page 16.

CAP is a major and important initiative for the O.R./analytics profession as well as the Institute. For the analytics professional, CAP will provide certification – a seal of approval  from an internationally recognized and respected organization testifying to the analyst’s knowledge and experience in the field. For INFORMS, the certification program will further establish the Institute as the world’s premier home and go-to group for all things advanced analytics, including expertise and conferences.

Which brings us to the second initiative we’d like to discuss, the 2012 INFORMS Member Survey. According to the survey, the most highly rated initiative is the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research held each spring. As an attendee of all 12 previous “practitioner” conferences, I can say without hesitation that they are first-class, not-to-be-missed events, a point I’ve driven home on several occasions in this column. If you haven’t already, make plans to attend the 2013 conference April 7-9 in San Antonio, Texas. By the way, the first certification exam is scheduled to be held in conjunction with the 2013 spring Analytics & O.R. Conference.

On a more personal note, we’re pleased to report that OR/MS Today and Analytics magazine (we edit both) are ranked among the top five initiatives among all the products and services INFORMS offers in terms of helping INFORMS members achieve their primary goal for joining the Institute. While we’re not surprised about OR/MS Today’s high ranking (it has consistently been ranked high in such surveys for 20 years), we were pleasantly pleased with the showing of Analytics, an online-only publication aimed primarily at non-INFORMS members. For the latest issue of Analytics, visit

The INFORMS Marketing Strategy Committee, led by Cornell Marketing Professor Vithala Rao and INFORMS Director of Marketing Gary Bennett, recently completed their analysis of the membership survey and present an executive summary of it beginning on page 51 of this issue of OR/MS Today.

The survey points out that members are, for the most part, “quite satisfied with INFORMS but not truly delighted.” That would certainly apply to OR/MS Today and Analytics magazine. With that in mind, we look forward to improving OR/MS Today and Analytics magazine and “delighting” our readers in the months and years ahead.

We welcome your comments and suggestions on how we can best achieve these lofty goals.

— Peter Horner, editor