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Information analytics turns data into future visions

Information analytics turns data into more educated business decisions and helps companies find their future focuses. Craig Fleisher, a leading expert in the field, visited Inforte’s ‘Information analytics business’ seminar at TUT on 7–8 December.

In order to succeed, it is crucial for today’s businesses to know how to analyze information. Management needs to be supported with information on such aspects as competitors, the current and future market situations, the means of differentiation and, overall, where the world is next headed.

“Information analytics enables companies to make wiser business decisions. Globally, companies are experiencing an acute need of experts in the field, but too few new specialists are educated at universities,” says Craig Fleisher, a pioneer in the field of business intelligence.

A revolution in the making in laboratories

Information analytics seeks answers not only to the question ‘how?’ but also ‘why?’. Development in the field has been incredibly fast: it was not long ago that only a few methods and a modest amount of information was available, but in the past few years, new means have been developed for analyzing various data masses. By filtering data, both companies and countries are aiming to predict the future: How can we improve people’s lives? What are their hopes for future services and products? What will the future look like and how will we get there?

”We are living in interesting times, as many major changes have reached piloting stages in laboratories around the world. Self-driving cars, human-implanted phones, new modes of food production – there is a lot we can do even today, but the key question is: what should we be doing, and what would be the right thing to do. And – most of all – how are we as humans able to adjust to these changes, Fleisher elaborates.

Simulating the future requires a vast amount of data analysis.

“Even though an endless amount of data is available from various devices, sensors, images and research, there are also many things that we are still clueless about. For instance, how can we know if a consumer will like a product that does not even exist yet. Business intelligence resembles any other kind of sophisticated prediction. Let’s take weather forecasts, for example: most of the time we get it right, but an element of surprise always remains, Fleisher explains.

New toolkit for students

Information analytics combines a variety of different perspectives, which is why it requires a broad outlook on both technology and humanities from students making the transition from universities to working life.  In Craig Fleisher’s view, universities should stress the multidisciplinary perspective, and this has been one of the very objectives for the TUT Department of Information Management and Logistics.

“Students must know how to use different kinds of data and also understand what the data excludes. You do not have to be an expert in every field, but in addition to your own specialist field, you should know the fundamentals of such areas as mobile technology, geographic information, mathematics and statistics, application development and programming. It is also useful to know some psychology and sociology, Fleischer lists.

Fleisher finds TUT a good place to be. The University combines technological and business expertise, and its close cooperation with businesses keeps it on a leading edge regarding the competence requirements experienced in working life.

“There are a lot of jobs available in the field and the area also poses many intriguing and socially valuable questions to researchers. This is something worth mentioning to those currently seeking a study place,” Fleisher points out.

Craig Fleisher was one of the speakers at the ’Information analytics business’ seminar at TUT, organized in cooperation between Inforte.fi and the Department of Information Management and Logistics. The seminar was attended by doctoral students from several universities as well as business representatives. Fleischer is the most widely cited researcher in his field and he has published several books on business intelligence-related topics. After a long university career, Fleisher now works as a Chief Learning Officer at the Aurora WDC consultant company and is responsible for ensuring that the staff’s competence is kept up to date. He is also a docent at the Department of Information Management and Logistics.

News submitted by: Sanna Kähkönen
Keywords: education and studies, science and research, about tut