In the market-based world in which we live, it's flattering when companies try to sell you new goods and services -- you know you're important enough for them to target. And it becomes downright cool when more and more companies join the competition for your business.
That's the analytics professionals's experience when it comes to conferences. Event organizers are virtually falling over themselves to schedule educational and promotional opportunities. On one schedule I recently browsed, you can find a handful of events in the US and in Europe every month through the first half of the year.
And that calendar didn't include many of my top events below.
Below, I've identified some of the top analytics-related educational content for the first six months of the coming year. Here you go:
MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference
Boston This conference puts sports analytics on the big brain map, recognizing the connection between very smart people and the business of sports. Founded in 2006, the conference is co-chaired by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, an MIT MBA, and Harvard MBA Jessica Gelman. Student-run, the conference focuses on growth and innovation in arenas and stadiums everywhere.
HIMSS13 Annual Conference & Exhibition
The Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society, or HIMSS, is a not-for-profit organization that has focused for 52 years on the optimal use of information technology and management systems for healthcare. Its annual conference is broad and long, but features numerous ways to learn about the intersection between healthcare and data.
Predictive Analytics World
Perhaps one of the more popular analytics shows out there, Predictive Analytics World (PAW) prides itself on looking at real-world examples of the deployment of predictive analytics. Corporate practitioners talk impact. The Toronto event will feature two tracks -- "all audiences," and expert/practitioner -- and will delve into topics ranging from insurance to military, recruitment to branding.
The Gartner Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit 2013
Consultants and vendors have their share of conferences throughout the year. The Gartner BI & Analytics Summit provides a robust schedule of 54 sessions, divided between analyst sessions, roundtables, case studies, workshops -- and of course, the usual conference fun and networking.
2013 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research
Talk to academics and expert practitioners, and they'll tell you that if you can only make it to one analytics conference next year, make it this one. The event's slogan is "Apply Science to the Art of Business.” Highlights include a competition for excellence in applied and advanced analytics, tutorials, case studies, and a job fair.
Predictive Analytics World
PAW goes next to San Francisco, where topics on the schedule include black-box trading, crowd sourcing predictive analytics, data visualization, e-commerce analytics, lead management, search engine marketing, social data, and telecom applications. PAW convenes elsewhere, like Chicago and Boston, later in the year.
SAS Analytics 2013 Conference Series
One of the top vendors (and this site's sponsor) in the business offers one of the top conferences. Its first conference of 2013 occurs in Europe. SAS brings in big names for keynotes, but packs the practitioner punch with sessions and case studies on the latest trends and methodologies, high-performance analytics, data mining, text mining, forecasting, optimization, visualization, and predictive modeling. SAS Analytics 2013 comes to the US -- Orlando -- in the fall.
Are any of these conferences on your 2013 agenda? Any others?
@Beth, a story from my college days that is funny now that it is 15 years old or so (and funny, too, because I was merely a witness and not a participant). Long story short, a few of my buddies did something very stupid and perhaps criminal ... and photographed it. Another buddy of mine -- or was president of the fraternity at the time and this "responsible" -- got wind of the event and the photo, and promptly drove two hours into the far reaches of Upstate New York to burn and bury said photo. Can't do that with Instagram, that's for sure!
@Beth, I have seen way too many grown adults act like college kids on spring break. Though I shouldn't talk. I think there are pics out there of me doing the same thing at unmentionable insurance conferences...
@Beth, I have to agree: you need to be in the mood for a keynote, and have nothing else pressing. Then you can sit back and let yourself be motivated by the speaker. However, no matter how free my time or positive attitude, any keynoter who makes me get out of my seat and stretch/do calisthenics is a big NO in my book!
@Noreen -- I'll weigh in: networking and education. Keynotes can be informative or entertaining, depending on speaker, but a nonessential part of an event, IMO. That said, one of my all-time conference highlights was the keynote address at SAS' Premiere Business Leadership Series in 2011. Colin Powell gave a fantastic talk.
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LEADERS FROM THE BUSINESS AND IT COMMUNITIES DUEL OVER CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY ISSUES
The Current Discussion
Visual Analytics: Who Carries the Onus? The Issue: Data visualization is an up-and-coming technology for businesses that want to deliver analytical results in a visual way, enabling analysts the ability to spot patterns more easily and business users to absorb the insight at a glance and better understand what questions to ask of the data. But does it make more sense to train everybody to handle the visualization mandate or bring on visualization expertise? Our experts are divided on the question. The Speakers: Hyoun Park, Principal Analyst, Nucleus Research; Jonathan Schwabish, US Economist & Data Visualizer
David Tishgart, senior director of marketing and alliances at security provider Gazzang, explains the importance of data encryption for companies that are rolling out Hadoop environments to leverage big data analytics.
At the Strata Conference / Hadoop World 2013, Samuel Kommu, technical marketing engineer at Cisco Systems, shares some of the benefits that Hadoop brings to analytics platforms that leverage next-generation hardware. Kommu looks at big data operations that required 3,500 nodes in 2009, 2,000 in 2011, and now require only 64 nodes.
Wayne Thompson, manager of SAS Data Sciences Technologies, delivers a fascinating preview demonstration of SAS Visual Statistics, a tool that enables fast and flexible modeling against massive datasets on the fly. Visual Statistics will be made generally available in March, but you can see it here first.
At Strata/Hadoop World 2013, Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly discusses the new Enterprise Data Hub offering, explaining how it works with Hadoop, how it creates a single repository of full-history and full-fidelity data, and how it exposes that data to all users interested in exploratory analytics.
At this year's Strata Conference/Hadoop World 2013, SAS big data vice president Paul Kent presented a session on setting up Hadoop clusters for advanced analytics. We caught up with several audience members and recorded their impressions of the presentation.
In hearing directly from a doctorate-level Hadoop specialist, a healthcare data analyst, and a marketing executive, it's clear that big data analytics is a burgeoning field that cutting-edge companies are eager to explore.
At this year's Strata Conference/Hadoop World 2013 event, SAS VP of Big Data Paul Kent presented several sessions about modernizing and deploying advanced data analytics infrastructures based on Hadoop. In this video, he talks about the state of Hadoop adoption among enterprises today and looks out to the big data-driven applications of the future.
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In this video, Shaun Connolly, vice president of corporate strategy at Hortonworks, explains how companies can incorporate Hadoop into their data analytics streams.
At the SAS Premier Business Leadership Series in Orlando, Manuel Sanchez, CRM Manager for Club Premier Aeromexico, explains the challenges and opportunities of transaction data. Using dozens of data sources among participating airlines and merchants, Club Premier creates robust customer profiles and works to maximize benefits for members and business partners alike while protecting individual privacy.
At SAS's October Premier Business Leadership Series (PBLS) in Orlando, attendees from the corporate and academic worlds joined thought leaders and analytics professionals to share insights and strategies around big data.
Will Hakes, CEO and co-founder of Link Analytics and keynote speaker at the SAS Analytics 2013 conference in Orlando, Fla., last month, talks candidly about the challenges that large enterprises face as they explore advanced analytics solutions. He also shares some practical tips for smoothing the transition.
At the SAS Analytics 2013 conference in Orlando, Bob Gladden, vice president for decision support and informatics at the Ohio nonprofit health insurance provider CareSource, explains how his company uses advanced analytics to keep administrative costs down and to identify at-risk patients for targeted healthcare initiatives.
At the Analytics 2013 conference in Orlando, Fla., two analytics experts from Dell -- global decision sciences manager Natalie Kortum and senior credit risk consultant Jack Chen -- share their real-world advice for analysts who want to sell their project ideas to business executives.
At the SAS Premier Business Leadership Series in Orlando, Fla., Lousiana State Representative Chris Broadwater outlined the state's success with analytics-driven fraud detection and shared his vision for streamlined processes at the DMV, the healthcare system, and even the department of corrections -- all delivered via a centralized repository of rich customer data.
Organizations that are ready to leverage big data need to move beyond buzzwords and approach the challenges with a business focus. Peter Guerra, principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, shares his insight and experience in helping clients transition to Hadoop and embrace new decision support platforms.
At this year's Strata Conference / Hadoop World 2013, Michael Steinhart chats with Rackspace Product Marketing Manager Sean Anderson about Hadoop, cloud computing, and how the two come together for companies that want to undertake a "proof of value" project.
With today's advanced visual analytics tools, you can stream data into memory for real-time processing, provide users the ability to explore and manipulate the data, and bring your data to life for the business.
Dynamic data visualizations let analysts and business users interact with the data, changing variables or drilling down into data points, and see results in a flash. Advance your use of data visualization with tools that support features like auto-charting, explanatory pop-ups, and mobile sharing.
No doubt your enterprise is amassing loads of data for fact-based decision-making. Hand in hand with all that data comes big computational requirements. Can traditional IT infrastructure handle the increasing number and complexity of your analytical work? Probably not, which is why you need a backend rethink. Big data calls for a high-performance analytics infrastructure, as Fern Halper, a partner at the IT consulting and research firm, Hurwitz & Associates, discusses here.
Redbox's bright-red DVD kiosks are all but ubiquitous these days, located in more than 28,000 spots across the country. Jayson Tipp, Redbox VP of Analytics and CRM, provides an insider's look at how the company has accomplished its phenomenal nine-year growth.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), a seven-brand global hotelier, has woven analytics into the fabric of its operations. David Schmitt, director of performance strategy and planning, shares IHG's analytics story and his lessons learned.