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Lecture: Getting bang for buck from business analytics

Tuesday, 7 May 2019 – For immediate publication

Getting bang for buck from business analytics

In the digital era, business analytics has emerged as a ‘superhero tool’ in the manager’s arsenal for helping to develop innovative new products and processes that will add to the bottom line.

But it’s not a silver bullet solution. In a free public talk being held at the University of Waikato in Hamilton on Tuesday, 21 May, called ‘I invested a million dollars in business analytics but what did I get for it?', Professor Rajeev Sharma will explain why analytics doesn’t always live up to its full potential – and what organisations can do to fix that situation.

The Hamilton Public Lecture Series introduces the University’s newest professors to the community and gives them a chance to demonstrate how their work is having a real impact on the world around us.

Some of the world’s most successful data-driven companies include the likes of Google, Uber, Alibaba, Airbnb and Amazon. Analytics can be used to ‘splice and dice’ real-time data from multiple information sources - using sophisticated techniques such as algorithms, artificial intelligence and machine learning - to uncover deep insights about business performance, and highlight opportunities to create added value.

Professor Rajeev Sharma and his colleagues at Waikato Management School have identified a four-step ‘winning formula’ for organisations to realise the true value of their business analytics.
“The problem is that analytics is not a killer application,” says Professor Sharma. “To innovate successfully, an organisation’s senior managers must show a sustained commitment to actioning those data-driven insights through ongoing investment in second-stage innovation projects. You also need talented, experienced staff who demonstrate a high level of technical and entrepreneurial skills, and have the competency to evaluate risk and make good business decisions.”

For example, DHL, the world’s leading courier service provider, is constantly scanning data about global shipping schedules and local traffic conditions to update its transport routes and ensure reliable delivery times to more than 250 countries.

A former electrical engineer, Professor Sharma has more than 20 years’ experience in research and consulting work. He has ranked as one of the world’s top 10 research scholars in the field of management information systems and his publications have over 2,500 Google Scholar citations.
“One of the critical factors in successful innovation is the agility of an organisation’s resource allocation process,” he says. “In other words, how easy or difficult is it for staff to have funding requests approved when they come up with a great idea? Does it take a few hours or several months for the organisation to make a decision?”

But under the wrong conditions, loosening the company’s purse strings can actually lead to even worse business performance. “For example, if your company has launched 100 new products but only 10% of them are selling, then you have a problem with your internal decision-making.”

This free public lecture will be held in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts (Gate 2B, Knighton Road), starting at 5.45pm. Complimentary drinks and nibbles provided from 5.15pm. If you wish to attend, please register online at https://events.waikato.ac.nz/events/hamilton-public-lectures.



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