Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 10.57.14 AMOn March 25, 2015, Loras College hosted its 3rd annual Business Analytics Symposium at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa. With about 250 attendees, the full-day conference was dedicated to exploring the data journey an organization must embark on to turn ideas into innovation and for analytics experts to share relevant case studies, explore real problems and discuss radical solutions.

The day kicked off with an executive breakfast where Matt Hart of BetterWorks presented “Achieving Growth with Goals: The Journey to Achieving Operational Excellence.” Following the executive session, the Symposium opened with Rich Clayton (’87), vice president of the business analytics product group at Oracle Corporation and a morning keynote by Tim Suther(’82), managing director of JP Morgan Chase, exploring business analytics and the opportunities it can afford you, your company and your world.

During lunch, two awards were presented to pillars in the business analytics community. The inaugural Loras College and Pella Corporation Analytic Catalyst Award was presented to Bill Lynch (’64) as a pillar of support for the business analytics community, seeing the opportunity business analytics provides companies to propel efficiencies, develop people and drive performance by fostering a curious culture focused on asking the right questions.

In addition, UnityPoint Health was awarded the prestigious Loras College Business Analytics Innovation Award for displaying the most innovative and effective use of business analytics through its robust blood transfusion analytics solution that allows for the observation of system-wide trends to translate into data-driven actions to reduce monetary waste and patient risk and conserve blood. Sponsored by TH Media, award submissions  described the business analytics project, process or concept that was implemented by their company and the tangible economic, social or environmental impact it demonstrated with a particular focus on impact, scope, insights, maturity and, of course, innovation.

Following lunch and awards, symposium attendees benefitted from the following breakout sessions:

  • Leveraging Financial Planning for Operational Analytics by Scott Stevenson and Mike Jelen of eCapital Advisors
  • A Hands-on Risk Management Workshop by Dale Lehman, Ph.D. and Dan Conway, Ph.D. of the Loras College Center for Business Analytics
  • The Journey to Exceptional Customer Experience by Cathy Carlson and Bruce Barchus of Vizability, LLC.
  • The Quest for the Best: Not All Data is Created Equal by Paul Kongshaug of BlendCard
  • Opening the Window to Data: Pella’s Journey—Creating Value with Information by Rick Hassman of Pella Corporation
  • Implementation of EPM for Improved Multi-business Budgeting and Financial Reporting by Andy Wickham of A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co.
  • The Analytics CoE: Positioning Your Business Analytics Program for Success by Kiran Garimella, Ph.D.,  of XBITALIGN

Finally, Betsy McVay, executive director of analytics at UnityPoint Health, concluded the evening by exploring her organization’s business analytics journey and explaining why aligning with key strategies and mission is critical for the success of a high-functioning analytics team. Highlights included research of best practices, roadmap development, prioritization, differentiators and challenges related to developing analytics capabilities for a multi-state integrated healthcare system.