University of Tennessee

Haslam Hosts Business Analytics Forum Discussing Data Presentation

May 3, 2018

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business gathered analytics experts from 22 companies across the country April 19-20 for its semiannual Business Analytics Forum. The event attracted more than 170 attendees (including students and faculty), with discussions centered on presenting data in an impactful way to lead business strategy.

Elizabeth Hardman Ricks from Storytelling with Data opened the first day with a keynote address that broke down practical ways to use data visualization.

“Analytics has very, very little value if the people using it don’t understand how to create value from it,” Ricks said. “Analysis paralysis cycles emerge when data isn’t presented in a way where the analysts explicitly communicate what’s important through simple visual means.”

Ricks encouraged attendees to declutter their graphs, consider their audience’s point of view and use words in their visualizations to clearly describe what is going on.

Shawndra Hill, a marketing analyst from Microsoft, followed Ricks, with a review of how her group effectively measures digital ad performance when paired with television ads. Timing was a key factor of her research, and she noted techniques that companies could use to distinguish potential customers from those who had already purchased the product in search engine results, recommending ways of better marketing to the former.

On the second day, Austin Solomon and Zane Troyer, both alumni of Haslam’s Master of Science in Business Analytics program and members of Pilot Flying J’s business intelligence team, spoke about the intersection of analytics and communications.  

The remainder of the forum consisted of breakout discussions on growing trends in the business analytics industry and research presentations from students and faculty members at Haslam and the broader University of Tennessee, Knoxville, community. Forum attendees also had the opportunity to network with students throughout the two days.

Companies interested in joining the forum can attend once as a guest. Forum members meet twice a year to develop competitive strategies and share best practices. For inquiries about the forum, contact Julie Ferrara at (865) 974-1659.