Wading through the hype to find the best solutions for your business

Operations research, analytics and data science can provide a wide range of solutions to many of the challenges facing organizations, from staffing to resource allotment to evaluating success and failure, if you have a business problem, O.R. and analytics can provide an effective, data-based solution.

But making sure you are picking the correct solution, the right approach for your unique problem, is just as important. Sure, having AI or machine learning-based solutions might sound super cool, but how do you know it’s actually the right answer to your problem? And when organizations are investing thousands if not more in these solutions, a lot is riding on the choice you make.   

We’ll be exploring the answers to these questions and more, with a particular focus on data-centric vs. decision-centric analytics and solutions, with Karen O’Brien. Karen O’Brien is an analytics leader and a 20-year public servant, having served in diverse analytics and leadership roles within the Department of the Army as a member of the Army Civilian Corps. Her applied operations research experience ranges from ballistics to logistics and she has built advanced data analytics capabilities in multiple organizations. By training, her undergraduate work was in physics and chemistry, and she leverages her MS in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University to bridge the worlds of big data analytics and classic operations research.

AI/ML is the perfect solution for some problems. It’s the absolute worst choice for other problems, and for a lot of the problems in between those two extremes, you can use AI/ML in combination with other tools like O.R. tools. So sometimes what you need is an optimization or an simulation and an O.R. expert or a Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) can help you figure that out.

Interviewed this episode:

Karen O'Brien

Analytics leader and a 20-year public servant

Karen O’Brien is the Operations and Analytics Division Chief in the Army Materiel Command’s Analytics Group. With a 20-year analytics career ranging from ballistics to logistics, Ms. O’Brien supports Army leaders at the highest levels with innovative analyses that save taxpayer money today and preserve tomorrow’s decision space. She is at her best untangling complex systems, working with sparse data and no precedent. Ms. O’Brien was a physics and chemistry nerd as an undergrad and holds a MS in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University.

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