Business Analytics: Getting Ahead of the Supergiant

Posted on June 14, 2021 by MCOB Outreach
MCOB Outreach

Dr. Ermanno Affuso data-lightbox='featured'
Dr. Ermanno Affuso has been a vital contributor in South Alabama's launch of the Data Analytics program.

By Dr. Ermano Affuso
Geoffrey Moore stated that “…without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the Web like deer on a freeway.” With the rise of the internet and wireless communication and the use of search engines, social media, online trading, cryptocurrencies, and internet streaming, our life and the way we do business have changed dramatically. Today, experts estimate almost 90 percent of the U.S. economy is digital. Every day the global economy produces 2.5 quintillion digital bytes per person. To give you an idea of how much digital data is available globally, think of an amount 57 times the number of grains of sand on all the beaches of the world. And, as one expert noted, there is no doubt that digital data is in the 21st century what petroleum was in the 20th century. In short, digital data is the energy that fuels organizations – businesses, government, NGOs and more. A major limitation of digital data, however, is that a massive amount of digital information is complex and difficult to analyze. This large amount of data, often referred to as Big Data, is a field of study that deals with extracting and analyzing valuable information from large, complex datasets. Among other tools, big data analytics often use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to support the tasks that data analysts face daily in extracting relevant information from large datasets.
Like industry, business analytics in academics is a fast-growing field. According to the AACSB's database of programs, more than 220 business schools worldwide offer over 400+ business analytics curricula. Unfortunately, few graduate programs are training educators to teach the core courses of Business Analytics. In short, a market disequilibrium exists between the rapid growth in demand for business analytics credentials and the supply of qualified instructors. With this in mind, the Mitchell College of Business professors decided to fill this vacuum by designing a rigorous Doctoral Program in Business Analytics that will train future educators in the field. This recently implemented Ph.D. program has a STEM-designated curriculum that also aims to train individuals interested in joining industry research and development divisions. The new Ph.D. program is aligned with the South Alabama Center for Business Analytics, Real Estate and Economic Development (SABRE).
One of the first major projects of the SABRE Center is creating a local big-data cluster supported by a synergic team of doctoral students in Business Analytics, as well as other University of South Alabama faculty experts in statistics and data science. The USA data cluster, under the auspices of the SABRE Center, will serve as a laboratory to engage our Ph.D. students in incubating innovative research ideas and producing thematic information to assist the decision-making process of business leaders and public officers in the state as well as nationally.

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