CHAPEL HILL, N.C., April 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Institute for Defense and Business (IDB) and SAS participated on a panel at Indiana University'sKelley School of Business at their 2nd Kelley Forum on Business Analytics in Bloomington, Indiana on April 4, 2014. The Forum panel, "Should We Trust Our Instincts – or the Data? The Role of Analytics in Decision Making" was moderated by IDB's Program Director Van Noah. The panel also included, IDB Executive Fellow Lt. Gen. Loren M. Reno, USAF (Ret.). His last assignment before he retired was Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics, Installations and Mission Support, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, DC. He is currently first Dean of the Cedarville University School of Business Administration.
"The DoD will benefit from bright, young analytics talent," opined Lt. Gen. Reno. "Drastic budget cuts never seen before are forcing the military to make significant and consequential tradeoffs and decisions. I predict that senior decision makers will increasingly benefit from analytics in making these tough calls, and those skilled in analytics will be an increasingly important part of this process."
Other panelists included: LTC (Ret.) Eric Hansen, former Senior Military Operations Research Analyst for the Joint IED Defeat Organization's Counter IED Operations Integration Center and he currently is a Sales Manager at SAS; Dr. Kyle Cattani, an Associate Professor of Operations Management at the Kelley School of Business and Dr. Alfonso J. Pedraza-Martinez is an Assistant Professor of Operations at the Kelley School of Business.
To answer the question posed in the panel title, you need to trust both. "Analytics can inform decisions and make them more dependable," commented Lt. Gen. Reno. But, you have to use your instincts and question results that seem counterintuitive.
Perhaps the most potent advice to come out of the panel was the need to establish TRUST and COMMUNICATE effectively with leadership. Analysts need to:
Make sure your analysis is accurate. Thoroughly understand the data, the algorithm, and the assumptions that go into each model.
Simplify things down. If there are tradeoffs or assumptions made, be able to explain them.
Be able to describe the outcome in business terms and articulate what the decision maker is supposed to do with the information you provide.
Understand the decision maker you are presenting to and how he/she likes to consume information. Speak in their language.
Develop good listening skills too – so you can add real value to the conversation.
About the IDB & IU Partnership IU has partnered with the IDB for over a decade on the IU-UNC LogMBA Program. This year IU Bloomington and the IDB signed a memorandum calling for collaboration on research and education that serves the needs of the U.S. military, government agencies and the private sector. This Forum panel was one of our first events under that expanding collaboration.
About the IDB & SAS Partnership: The IDB established the Executive Fellows Program to provide selected retired senior leaders from the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the military services an opportunity to continue to share their knowledge and experience. For the ninth consecutive year, SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services, sponsors the program. IDB and SAS are also collaborating together on joint education events at conferences. Please go to www.idb.org/events for more information on upcoming events.
About the IDB The IDB is a non-profit research and education institute formed in 1997 by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the state of North Carolina. The institute provides custom executive education programs in the areas of logistics and technology, life cycle systems, leadership and organizational transformation, strategic studies, stabilization and economic reconstruction, and the IU-UNC LogMBA program.