Business Analytics and Data Science Processes, Personas and Learning Paths

As the demand for analytics and data science professionals has grown, the terminology, roles and job titles associated with these fields have also expanded. Initially, the term “data scientist” encompassed individuals with broad skills, capable of handling all aspects of analytics projects, from problem identification to model deployment. The concept of a data scientist evolved into a team-based approach, with individuals possessing complementary skills and experiences. This shift led to the emergence of various personas and job titles associated with specific tasks within analytics and data science processes. The list in this article is not exhaustive, but it provides definitions for some prominent personas.



Although “supply chain” became a household term during the COVID-19 pandemic, MIT Professor David Simchi-Levi opened his plenary session, “Reinventing Operations Management’s Research and Practice with Data Science,” on Wednesday, October 18, by sharing that efforts to increase supply chain resiliency had been underway for quite some time prior to 2020.

Dr. John Halamka gave an insightful plenary on Tuesday morning during the 2023 INFORMS Annual Meeting. He serves as the president of the Mayo Clinic Platform and brings years of experience and his invaluable educational background.

The Monday morning plenary panel during the 2023 INFORMS Annual Meeting, moderated by Anne Robinson (Kinaxis), provided an in-depth exploration of the evolving role of data within supply chains. Panel experts, including Derrick Fournier (Bristol Myers Squibb), Pascal Van Hentenryck (Georgia Tech), Kelly Thomas (Worldlocity) and Feryal Erhun (Cambridge Judge Business School), convened to discuss the multifaceted challenges faced by supply chains, given the backdrop of rising customer demands and ever-shifting market dynamics.

2023 INFORMS President Laura Albert shares why the new INFORMS tagline resonates for her, and her excitement for the upcoming 2023 INFORMS Annual Meeting in this video column.

Judith S. Liebman, professor emerita of operations research, died on July 8, 2023, in Urbana, Illinois. Judith is survived by her husband of almost 65 years, her brother, her two sons and her daughter; also by eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren.


Quantum Business Intelligence and Quantum Augmented Digital Twins

Quantum computing is rapidly becoming an enterprise tool that will bring about a dramatic shift in how businesses use computing devices. Digital twin technology can be used in conjunction with quantum computers to create a new generation of business intelligence that is forward-looking, allowing businesses to receive situational representations of simulated activities (or chains of activities) and their respective outcomes while taking into consideration abundant live, up-to-date data and more complex simulation algorithms.




Assessing the Environmental Impact of Fast Shipping: Toward Sustainable Ranking Solutions

Online retail has grown significantly in recent years, in part because of the convenience of shopping from anywhere and having goods delivered directly to one’s doorstep. Many consumers have come to expect fast shipping as a standard part of the online shopping experience, with 80% of consumers now expecting delivery within two days. For this article, we collaborated with Wayfair to quantify the causal effects of fast delivery promises on consumer choices using a large-scale field experiment in which Wayfair randomly removed fast delivery promises from the product ranking pages consumers saw online.


What's Your StORy?

Veronica White

You attended the 2022 INFORMS Conference on Security in D.C. Can you describe this event and what you gained from it?

The INFORMS Conference on Security was great for individuals interested in national security, public safety and justice applications. This conference is also jointly attended by NSF and other funders, so it can be a great way to learn about available funding opportunities and what they are looking for. In general, smaller INFORMS conferences are a great way to meet and network with your peers whose interests closely align with yours.

For more from Veronica, including her 2022 INFORMS DEI Ambassador project, click here.


Redistricting, Gerrymandering and the Binomial Distribution

Redistricting is a complicated process, the result of which generally leads to predictable outcomes for many district elections. There have been many attempts to find a foolproof mathematical procedure for identifying cases of outlandish gerrymandering. Those methods are good techniques to indicate “cracking” or “packing,” two common gerrymandering techniques. Neither, however, provides hard and fast limits to indicate if exceptional gerrymandering exists. This article proposes just such a procedure.



Live at #INFORMS2023: Giving back with analytics

2019 Franz Edelman Award Finalists: Boston Public Schools

This was an unbelievable opportunity to see things and do things and meet people and work with people and try to solve problems that might actually have an impact on people’s lives. It’s kind of where I came up with what I want on my tombstone: Confirmable optimality is highly over-rated. If you can get to 99.5% of optimality in a couple of days when you’re working on a problem that’s going to get food to people, and your choice is either implement that or keep working on it for another six months until it’s just right, you need to take the heuristic, almost optimal solution and move on to another problem.

In a special episode recorded at the 2023 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, I have the opportunity to sit down with long time INFORMS member and professor and dean with the Culverhouse College of Business at the University of Alabama, Jim Cochran. We cover a lot of ground from adventures abroad with Visiting Scholar opportunities, to combatting urban blight and human trafficking, to increasing access to dental care and food donations for those in need, but most importantly explore the power of analytics to give back and make a difference.

Listen Now


Support is Not Enough, Here Are Some Actions to Help Her Thrive

Despite gains in women pursuing STEM careers, they remain deeply underrepresented in technical roles. Recent findings show that 32% of women in technical and engineering roles are often the only woman in the room at work. Yet study after study has shown that businesses demonstrate better outcomes – increased innovation, improved financial performance metrics, and reduced risk of lawsuits, reputational scandals and corporate crime – when women leaders reach a critical mass (about 30% representation). As a leader, why should you care?


What's Your StORy?

Carsten Jordan

How could we promote analytics careers to high school students, or younger?

We should focus on what problems OR/MS can solve and why, what that means (e.g., improve sustainability/reduce costs). Students (especially high school and younger) should be introduced to what the problem is, and maybe understand modeling. Algorithms can come later. An answer does not make sense if you do not have a question.

For more from Carsten, click here.


Inside Story

Analytics (Smarter Decisions) for (a Better) Everyone (World)

This issue of OR/MS Today happens to include a lot of analytics. Although we do have Analytics magazine for most of the industry-focused and business analytics insights and content, the O.R. community can certainly share in the analytics love.

Presidential Punk Rock O.R.

Smarter Decisions for a Better World: Telling Our StORy

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences and its acronym, “INFORMS,” are not entirely illustrative to those outside of our discipline. We have always had to work hard to explain our expertise to others, and often, our main message got lost along the way. To me, it seemed like a tagline would help us better articulate our expertise to the world. The new tagline of “Smarter decisions for a better world” communicates INFORMS’ mission and values to our members, our peers and the public in a concise and impactful manner.

HQ Highlights

The Power of a Few Words

At INFORMS, the professional home of approximately 12,000 members, we understand the power of words and take great care in what we put into the world. Over the last year, we have spent a great deal of time and effort in creating a tagline that encompasses our great community and everyone in it. Something we can put out to the world to describe who we are and what we do. Just a few powerful words that allow us to shine a light on INFORMS.

Issues in Education

Challenges for Mathematicians Transitioning to Teach in a Business School

The learning strengths of business students differ from those trained in the mathematical sciences. Our comfort zone is a logic-based learning format, e.g., theorem-proof. We enjoy wrestling with an abstract mystery without needing a specific problem to be solved. We tend to be “big picture” thinkers. In comparison, business students like to focus on the details of a specific well-structured, real-world, applied problem. They are energized by experiential learning in group settings and give-and-take discussions. We can use these strengths to teach big-picture concepts.


Gaining Real-World Experience Through Pro Bono Work

Data analytics is a rapidly growing field with a high demand for professionals. However, many students or recent graduates of certificate programs in data analytics lack real-world experience to showcase their skills to potential employers. Fortunately, there is an excellent opportunity for these students to gain valuable experience while also contributing to the community: by volunteering with nonprofit organizations to analyze their data.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Op-ed

Op-ed: New Laws Are Putting the Well-Being of University Faculty, Staff and Students, and Our Institutions, At Risk: Here’s What We Can Do

The past two years have seen a surge of laws proposed in U.S. state legislatures dedicated to the proposition that admissions, teaching, research and service – the core activities of colleges and universities – are compromised by a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and that considerations of racial and social justice are counter to our civic values and academic norms and harmful to students and the research enterprise.

Subject to ...

Revealing a Less-Traveled Road

Why is operations research (O.R.) so obscure? Perhaps its interdisciplinary nature gives O.R. so many names, which keeps the discipline hidden, even if not intentionally. There is also still a gap between the theory and practice of O.R., and it is less trivial to start using O.R. tools compared to, for instance, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies (just think about the recent success of chatbots such as ChatGPT). Or are people from the field just so shy and introverted that doing some marketing of the area would make them uncomfortable?

Roundtable Profile

Roundtable Profile
SAS: Evolution of an Analytics Leader

Founded in 1976, SAS is the founder and future of artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics. People who lugged boxes of punch cards to the computer lab to run code include some of the earliest users of SAS®. Today, people using the fastest AI and analytics platforms on the market are also SAS users.

INFORMS Initiatives

Increasing Underrepresented Students’ Exposure to OR/MS through K-12 Outreach

The INFORMS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Ambassadors Program was set up to foster collaboration and promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive operations research and management science (OR/MS) community. The K-12 outreach project is a continuation of the larger 2022 DEI Ambassador Program strategic initiative. The 2023 project enhances efforts to create and disseminate standard materials for INFORMS student chapters to start and maintain outreach initiatives. The long-term goal is to increase the exposure to OR/MS for students from underrepresented groups through high school outreach activities.

Member Insights

head with gears brain
The Hard Skill of Problem-Solving

This article presents my perspective that O.R. is broadly applicable because we develop a measurable hard skill in problem-solving, as contrasted with the traditional idea that problem-solving is a “soft skill” that is hard to teach and quantify.

Member Spotlight

member with spotlight
Exploring Model Thinking: An Interview with Richard Larson

In a recent interview, I sat down with Richard Larson, author of the new book “Model Thinking for Everyday Life.” In this Q&A, we delve into the concept of model thinking and its application in our daily lives. Larson shares his insights on the book, what inspired him to write it and why it stands out from other decision-making books in the market. Join us as we explore the fascinating world of model thinking with Richard Larson.

Analytics Advice

two heads and chat boxes
Finding an Analytics Internship

This article is the first in a series titled “Analytics Advice” in which topics and content draw from the collective experience and wisdom of the INFORMS community to provide advice on topics of interest to analytics students and early-career professionals. A question is posed to the community and the responses are edited into an article.

International O.R.

Human Connection: The People Behind the Numbers

Amid the sea of articles and tutorials about data, there was a gap – a niche yearning to be filled. It was the realm of human connection, the overlooked world of people and the soft skills that make or break a career in analytics. And so, I eagerly embraced this path as a storyteller of the people behind the numbers.

Student Perspectives

Detecting and Mitigating Disparities in Preventive Care and Healthcare Delivery

Disparities in healthcare access and delivery have long been a significant concern worldwide, and contribute to unequal health outcomes and hinder achieving optimal population health. However, with recent giant leaps in artificial intelligence (AI) and operations research (O.R.), there is great potential to detect and mitigate these disparities, improving preventive care and healthcare delivery. O.R. can help optimize resource allocation, improve logistics and enhance decision-making processes in healthcare systems.

Conference Previews

Still time to register for #INFORMS2023 in Phoenix!

Join the more than 6,000 students and academic and industry experts on October 15-18 at the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix for a one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect with the INFORMS community, as well as network with prospective employers and employees.

2023 Winter Simulation Conference Set for San Antonio, Texas

Please join us in San Antonio, Texas, for the leading conference in the field of simulation! The Winter Simulation Conference (WSC) 2023 will be held December 10-13 at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter. The theme of WSC 2023 is “Simulation for Resilient Systems” and will highlight the vital role that simulation plays in designing, planning and operating resilient systems under uncertainty.

Last Word

Chapter Excellence Awards

There are currently 19 INFORMS chapters and each one is doing great work and offers many opportunities to learn from each other. So, how do you recognize the work these chapters do while also providing better guidance for chapters and sharing best practices?


View Current Job Openings.
INFORMS site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; Others help us improve the user experience. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Please read our Privacy Statement to learn more.