Updates and Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Skip to main content

Business professionals looking to use data and modeling to achieve a competitive edge for their organizations are invited to attend a two-day conference at UT, on the rapidly growing field of business analytics.

The national conference, Business Analytics as a Growth Strategy, will be held October 11-12 in the James A. Haslam II Business Building. It will provide business analytics sales and marketing knowledge imperative for top management.

The event is for individuals wanting to learn best practices in the three most popular areas of business analytics:

  • customer loyalty programs
  • online business growth strategies (digital intelligence)
  • the integration of “big data” into real-time business decisions

The keynote speakers are from the three leading companies in these fields—Kroger, Google, and Teradata. There also will be speakers from Pilot-Flying J, Regal Entertainment Group, and FedEx.

“UT is at the forefront of understanding business analytics as it relates to building customer loyalty and sustaining organizational growth,” said Ken Gilbert, head of the Department of Statistics, Operations, and Management Science in UT’s College of Business Administration, which houses the business analytics programs. “In fact, the College of Business Administration was the first business college in the nation to launch degree programs in business analytics.”

Conference participants will be able to network with each other as well as with UT faculty and students.

For more information or to register, visit the conference website.

Conference keynote speakers are:

  • Ed Hudson, senior director of strategic initiatives at the Kroger Company, who will speak on Kroger’s pioneering achievements in customer loyalty programs. Kroger has used customer transactional data to drive thirty-four straight quarters of sales growth.
  • Justin Cutroni, analytics advocate at Google, who will talk about online digital strategies. He has worked with Toyota, Sony Music, Universal Music, the National Hockey League, Wells Fargo, and HomeAway in the use online strategies to fuel business growth.
  • Bill Franks, chief analytics officer for Teradata Global Alliance programs, who will talk about the business opportunities that are hidden in the tidal wave of available data. For example, retailers can now deliver content seamlessly to customers in multiple channels.

There will be panel discussion on customer loyalty by Drew Graham of Pilot-Flying J, Ken Thewes of Regal Entertainment Group, and Jeff Maddock of FedEx.

The College of Business Administration and its Department of Statistics, Operations, and Management Science are organizing the conference.

A McKinsey Global Institute report predicts that, by 2018, the United States will need 140,000 to 190,000 business analytics professionals and 1.5 million data-savvy managers. A strategic initiative of the college is to prepare business analytics majors for these professional positions.

Currently, the college offers an undergraduate degree in business analytics, a master’s degree in business analytics and a dual Master’s of Science in business analytics/Master’s of Business Administration degree. In addition, UT offers business analytics as a concentration to MBA students and undergraduates majoring in other areas.

“UT students can acquire skills that are not available in other business schools, and recruiters who come to UT can hire talent that is not available elsewhere,” said Jan Williams, dean of the College of Business Administration.

UT also sponsors a Business Analytics Forum where representatives from noncompeting companies meet twice a year to share best practices. Forum members include Caterpillar, State Farm, Capital One, Jewelry TV, Pilot-Flying J, and Bush Brothers.

In addition, the college will be launching a business analytics research center, directed by Management Science Professor Chanaka Edirisinghe. This center will allow companies to work with UT faculty and graduate students to discover new solutions to problems in their organization. A doctoral program in business analytics will be created in conjunction with the center.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993, lalapo@utk.edu)

Cindy Raines (865-974-4359, craines1@utk.edu)