by Dan Muse

Analytics 50 proves the power of a good partnership

Dec 22, 2016
AnalyticsBig DataBusiness Intelligence and Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business worked together to make the inaugural year of the Analytics 50 awards program a success.

We write a lot about collaboration and partnerships at After all, it has never been more important for IT leaders to partner — whether that means working with the growing number of vendors that provide critical competencies once firmly rooted on-premises or, perhaps more importantly, partnering with CMOs and other C-level executives in departments that command their own technology budgets.

While our primary role as technology journalists is to provide information to help you do your jobs better, leverage your expertise and advance your careers, we sometimes have the opportunity to practice what we preach.

We’re proud of our partnership with Drexel University and the LeBow College of Business, and the fruits of that collaboration: the Analytics 50 awards program. This initiative, which we expect to expand in the coming years, is a blend of academia and media. A lot of partnerships look good on paper. This one certainly did, because Drexel’s Decision Sciences department and are both committed to reporting on analytics. It’s a natural fit. But partnerships don’t thrive because they look good on paper.

While logistics, criteria and deadlines are always challenges, this project evolved easily from the moment we first discussed ways we could work together. Diana Jones and Murugan Anandarajan from Drexel University not only ensured the Analytics 50’s success by bringing vision and commitment to business analytics, but they also showed an unrelenting understanding of what makes collaboration work — recognition of shared goals, patience, empathy and a sense of humor.

On Nov. 9, we recognized the Analytics 50 honorees at an event in Philadelphia at Drexel University’s Gerri C. LeBow Hall, and we further highlight these inspiring business analytics projects in our feature story “Innovators Reap Results.” Senior Writer Thor Olavsrud, our award-winning reporter of all things analytics, dives deep into five winning projects. Choosing only five of the 50 winners was challenging. But after poring over the entries, we decided on Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Intel, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the Philadelphia 76ers and The North Face.

As you read Olavsrud’s story, you’ll note collaboration and partnership aren’t empty words. For example, Braden Moore, the Philadelphia 76ers’ director of analytics and insights, sums up a sentiment that permeates this year’s honorees. “We didn’t necessarily have any metrics or KPIs specific to the model. Instead, we had the organizational revenue and retention targets. One of the organization’s core values is ‘Collaboration Wins.’ Therefore, it wasn’t about the success of this analytics project as much as it was a piece of the overall picture.”