Business Analytics Forum

Haslam College of Business

Spring 2014

Located at the Carolyn P Brown Memorial University Center on the University of Tennessee – Knoxville Campus.

Carolyn P Brown Memorial University Center
Knoxville, TN 37916

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8:00am - 9:00am


9:00am - 10:00am

Building A Data Driven Culture At Amazon

Dan Joy – Amazon

Amazon uses data to stay connected and focused on customers. We will discuss how analytics are used to reinforce connectivity, tenets, and processes.

10:00am - 10:15am


10:15am - 11:15am

Analytics for the SMB

Eric Johnson – Jewelry Television
Small and medium businesses face a unique set of challenges when creating their Business Analytics strategies. Eric will present what he feels are the basic issues followed by an open discussion dealing with how other companies have handled these issues as well as understand what they can leverage from larger corporations.

11:15am - 11:30am


11:30am - 12:30pm

Building an Analytics Organization

Craig Brabec – Caterpillar
Craig will discuss Caterpillar’s evolution of the Information Analytics organization and different strategies around talent, capability, and change management.

12:30pm - 1:30pm


1:30pm - 2:30pm

Navigating the Politics of Analytics

Randy Bradley – University of Tennessee

Despite the seemingly apparent benefits associated with leveraging analytics, decisions such as whether to move forward or not, and whether to fully embrace or dabble with analytics, are wrought with political posturing. In this session, we will discuss the way out of this analytics political quagmire.

2:30pm - 4:30pm

Workshop or Breakout Sessions

Please read the description below for the Workshop and the Breakout session. You will receive a survey via email to specify which you plan to attend. If you would like to send employees to the Workshop only and not attend the remainder of the forum, please reply to the email with their name and email address.

Breakout Sessions

The breakouts will focus on specific departments and their role in analytics. In each session you will discuss the KPIs and other metrics common in those departments and the challenges you face when working across departments. The sessions will be led by a faculty member. We will meet as a group to recap and discuss the findings.

We will focus on 4 main areas: Finance, Supply Chain, Marketing and Operations.
Workshop: Understanding Business Data Better Using Excel with Charlie Cwiek (bio)

This 2-hour workshop is designed for individuals that already have a working knowledge of Excel, but want to learn a few tips and tricks to quickly get more knowledge from their company data. Also, the workshop will briefly cover techniques to help users distinguish between “ordinary” vs. “abnormal” variation in a set of time series data.

Topics covered include:

  • Sorting, filtering and summarizing data
  • Creating and using Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts for data discovery
  • Concept of Common vs. Special cause variation
  • Creation and interpretation of X and MR charts
  • Sampling of a few basic statistical techniques built into Excel (if time permits)

Participants should bring their own laptop to the workshop (fully charged, although limited power will be available), and have Excel loaded on their machine. Excel Version 2010 will be used by the presenter, however older and newer Excel versions are acceptable for participants. Windows operating system is preferred (Mac users will not be able to create Pivot Charts, but should not refrain from attending because of this). Wireless capability is not necessary.


8:00am - 9:00am


9:00am - 10:00am

Supply Chain Transformation – A Case Study in the Innovative Use of Analytics

Donnie Haye – IBM Corporation

In this session, we will describe the evolution of IBM’s business model from multi-national to Smarter Supply Chain where we emphasize capabilities such as pervasive visibility, predictive intelligence and optimization, total risk management, and Big Data analytics. We will take a close look at the role that supply chain analytics have had in driving this evolution, as well as lessons learned along the way from our experience developing and deploying first-of-a-kind advanced analytics across our supply chain, including with our business partners.

10:00am - 10:15am


10:15am - 11:15am

Executive Panel

Hosted by Ken Gilbert – University of Tennessee
Panelist Craig Brabec – Caterpillar
Panelist Donnie Haye – IBM Corporation
Panelist Dan Joy – Amazon

Ken Gilbert will lead a question and answer session around how Business Analytics professionals can contribute to making their companies more strategic. Some of the focus will be on how Business Analyst assist with shaping the organization’s competitive strategy and in shaping the organization structure as opposed to being the people who answer questions provided them by crunching the numbers.

11:15am - 12:00pm

Future Forum Planning

Julie Ferrara – University of Tennessee

During this time we will choose the date for the Fall Forum, discuss presentation topics and review the status of the forum. We will also discuss the plans to create a Business Analytics Forum endowment.

12:00pm - 1:00pm


1:00pm - 2:00pm

Job Fair Booths

2:00pm - 4:00pm

Speed Interviews

4:00pm - 6:00pm

Formal Interviews


Friday am

Special Guest: Tom Davenport

Tom Davenport, PhD, one of the world’s renowned experts and thought leaders on knowledge management, data analytics, and business processes, works with enterprises to drive organizational change. He will be conducting a half-day interactive seminar, Competing on Analytics: How Fact-Based Decisions & Business Intelligence Drive Performance, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on February 7, 2014, from 9 am – noon. You can read more here.

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