Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Learning from THE business intelligence guru


Kelley School MBA candidate Nachiket Kale talks with SAS CEO Jim
Goodnight about how he developed the idea to create the analytics company.

By Nachiket Kale
Second-Year MBA

Kelley students had a rare opportunity Monday to learn directly from Jim Goodnight, business analytics guru and CEO/Co-founder of SAS.

In 2009, according to one estimate, people generated more data than all the years before combined. Goodnight spoke about how this enormous amount of data spells a range of opportunities for today’s businesses. He dived deeper into how SAS is helping harness the power of this data to draw some powerful and actionable insights for businesses to help them serve customers better and become more profitable.

Goodnight explained how SAS has always remained focused on application of data in helping improve business practices. It was very interesting to learn in how many diverse ways SAS and similar data analysis companies are touching our lives.


For example, SAS works closely with the IRS to analyze which tax returns out of the millions of filings should be scrutinized and why. SAS also works with some of the top-bracket banks in helping them assess the amount of dollars at risk at any given point. In light of recent financial crisis, leveraging predictive technology to moderate the financial sector is extremely crucial.


Given my background with digital and mobile advertising, hearing about some of the challenges SAS faces in the field of social and mobile data mining was particularly interesting. As one may expect, building classifications of specific phrases to be monitored, deciphering use of the latest slang, and building robust tracking systems are some of the biggest challenges in harnessing data in the fast-changing mobile and social space.


As a Marketing major and Business Analytics minor in the Kelley School Full-Time MBA program, it was a one-of-a-kind opportunity to speak to Goodnight, who typically visits only one college campus a year, and I am very grateful to the Kelley School of Business for affording such great learning opportunities to the students.


I am certainly excited about the buzz around our new MBA in Business Analytics and look forward to many more exciting speakers and opportunities.

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