Daniel Fylstra, editor
Solver International has an editorial mission statement, “Educating and Empowering the Business Analyst,” that you’ll see throughout this issue. We’re speaking to everyone employed in roles that do – or should – include “analyst” in the job title, as well as managers of people in those roles. But in truth our audience is broader than that: As Miguel Martinez from Microsoft says in this issue’s Executive Interview, analytics and business intelligence is “a key piece of knowledge – it must be part of your skillset,” even “if you’re not in a hardcore data analysis industry or department.” For MBA and undergrad business students, this message should be clear as well – in today’s world, you can’t leave data and analytics to the “quants in the back room.” It’s front and center, from the departmental meeting to the board room.
So by all means, take advantage of our free digital magazine to learn! This issue includes two advanced tutorials, on Text Mining and Simulation Optimization. You’ve probably heard these terms, but do you know what’s really involved in these analytic methods? Our tutorials go into enough depth to be a little challenging, but the reward is that you’ll find you do have a grasp of what these methods can do, and how they might be used in your own business or future career.
You’ll also find an article on Location Data and geospatial analysis in these pages. It’s remarkable just how pervasive and useful location data is in literally every industry. As Thomas Walk writes, “Every object exists in space and time and there is always something to be learned from analyzing those locations in conjunction with other data sets” – from retail sales to insurance claims to fuel usage. And don’t miss Jen Underwood’s always-fascinating column, about “Prescriptive Analytics at the Edge” – Jen cites examples from anticipating machine failure to preventing customer churn.
So why learn analytics? Quoting Miguel Martinez from Microsoft once more, “this is the right time in history to be exposed to analytics, because you’re going to be very successful.” We couldn’t agree more.