Minerra at Melbourne Business Analytics Conference

Steve Remington and Edgar Kautzner at Minerra's booth at the 2017 Melbourne Business Analytics Conference.

On a chilly mid-July Thursday, Minerra participated in the Melbourne Business Analytics Conference 2017. Minerra had a booth at the one-day conference where we met analytics and data experts and business leaders from across the country.

I also gave a presentation titled “Delivering Decision Support Through User-Centric Design” where I shared a successful approach we took with a large American organisation. The slides of my presentation are available on Slideshare and a recording of the presentation is below.

Keynote Presentation by Tom Davenport

To kick off the conference, keynote speaker Tom Davenport appeared via video conference from the US. He presented his view about analytics ‘eras’; in particular a new era in analytics named augmented analytics, which is what he called “analytics 4.0”. It was an interesting presentation however the ideas may somewhat align more with large multi-national organisations with a very mature analytics capability, than with the priorities and needs of many organisations, particularly small to medium enterprises that are still building their analytics capability from a comparatively low base.

Good Decisions versus Good Outcomes

Professor Zeger Degraeve, Dean of Melbourne Business School, conducted an engaging session about the differences between Good Decisions, and Good Outcomes. He talked about the role of analytics on informing good decisions, and that outcomes are generally uncertain. Based on probability, outcomes can be negative. Good managers should therefore not measure decision and decision support on outcomes, but in the way they support good decisions.

Analytics in Sport

It was a pleasure to hear Michael Cheika, head coach of the Wallabies, introduce a down-to- earth view of analytics use. He explained how the Wallabies use analytics in combination with their own expertise in areas such as injury prevention, performance improvement, and competition analysis. Although he mentioned big data and analytics, it seemed more like he was using spreadsheets (integrating data from different sources) and then trying to push those results to players directly.

Creating Business Value with Analytics

I also attended a fantastic panel session later in the afternoon about value creation from analytics. Senior analytics users and managers participated in the session, including Jane Eastgate (Head of Flybuys Analytics, Coles), Dr Amy Shi-Nash (Head of Data Science, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Sheetal Patole (Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Macquarie Bank), Scott Jendra (CIO, Australian Football League), and Enrico Rizzon (Partner, Procurement Analytics, AT Kearney).

The discussion was focused on two important parts of analytics in organizations: value creation, and gender diversity in analytics teams. Interesting statements were made about the analytics teams’ closeness with the business areas of organizations (participation in meetings, roadshows, etc). The conversation also focused on the lack of female analytics partition in the market. The panel recognised that improvements had been made, but that much more work on this issue is needed in the next decade.

Overall, it was a productive and insightful day, and we’re looking forward to attending the event again next year.

If you have any questions about my presentation, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected]. Wherever your organisation is in your analytics journey, we are happy to have a no-obligation chat to see what we can do to help.