Haslam Hosts Forum on Practical Business Uses for Big Data

October 5, 2017

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business will gather analytics experts from across the country October 11-13 for its semiannual Business Analytics Forum. The forum will explore how companies are using data to innovate in practical ways.

Keynote speaker Sam Ransbotham will address the hype surrounding breakthrough uses of big data. He cautions against being intimidated by news stories about businesses using data to reach previously untapped market segments, cut their expenditure by large percentages and make predictions that seem to border on sorcery.

“Normal people can do a whole lot with our current data and set of tools,” Ransbotham says. “That’s the world we’re moving toward: where you need to be data literate.”

An associate professor of information systems at Boston College, Ransbotham guest edits a series of papers for Sloan Management Review on how society and businesses use data. He interviews key industry players and surveys 3,000 to 4,000 executives for each paper, and plans to share insights from this work at the upcoming forum.

“What’s interesting is to talk about how people are actually doing these things,” he says. “The possibilities for analytics are endless, the difficulty lies in fulfilling the execution of them. It’s interesting to me to find out what’s easy to say but hard to do.”

Sean Willems, Haslam Chair in Supply Chain Analytics at the Haslam College of Business, will keynote the second day of the forum. Other sessions will include breakout discussions from forum company members, presentations from Haslam’s masters of business analytics students, networking opportunities and a student hack-a-thon.

A job fair will follow the forum on Friday, October 13, and an alumni breakfast featuring guest speaker Joan Cronan will take place on Saturday, October 14. The forum will be held at the Holiday Inn World’s Fair Park and is free of charge for forum members.

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 membership and benefits, contact Julie Ferrara at 865-974-1659.


Julie Ferrara (865-974-1659, jferrara@utk.edu)
Katie Williams (865-974-3589, katiewilliams@utk.edu)