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Trends in Business Analytics

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

With the data analytics emerging as a rapidly changing and in-demand field, we sat down with MS Business Analytics and Information Management alumnus Alex Hartman to get his take on the field. Pertaining to the future of Business Analytics, Hartman sees 3 main trends in the upcoming years:


1) Advanced Predictive & Prescriptive Tools: These tools will always be useful for companies trying to understand the future. Predictive analytics looks to provide estimates regarding the likelihood of a future occurrence and tries to answer: “What could happen?”. Some of the tools include Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) and ARIMA models. Prescriptive analytics looks to quantify the effect of future decisions to suggest possible business actions and tries to answer: “What should we do?”. These tools are important for businesses to extract meaning from large troves of data.    

2) Natural Language Processing (NLP): As we’ve seen with IBM Watson, the ability for computers to understand language is growing quickly. It falls under the branch of artificial intelligence which aims to understand human languages through deep learning and linguistics. In the Web Data class taught by Professor Rahman, students not only utilize Python for web scraping, they also utilize the Natural Language Tool Kit (NLTK) for Python as well as Microsoft Azure / Google Cloud Natural Language. This field is growing in importance as it can be utilized by companies to measure consumer sentiment online as it relates to their brand image and other intangible assets.

3) Security and IoT: The growth of interconnected systems is becoming the new standard across industries. It can provide more data and insights than ever before. The only problem with this large push towards technical automation is security. Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing fields in the technology industry and is becoming one of the most important for companies as well.

Post-graduation, Hartman will be working for Bank of America in their Global Technology and Operations program. When asked about what makes a company great, he states:

"A truly great company seeks not only to improve and grow itself, but is committed to the growth, learning, and success of its employees."

With dreams of one day becoming a CMO, Hartman has big aspirations. And with an MS in Business Analytics and Information Management, he is prepared to take a big step to achieving his goals.