Companies now have more data than ever available to them. However, it is not just about having an unlimited amount of information – it’s about putting that data into action. New Resources Consulting’s Executive Briefing Series held a panel discussion on this topic discussing unique ways in which organizations utilize their data, the challenges and opportunities they have had in adopting advanced analytics, and what they see is the future of data analytics.


  • Keri McConnell, Executive Director of Northwestern Mutual’s Data Science Institute
  • Russell Miller, Head of Data Services and Advanced Technology at Artisan Partners
  • Mike Leopando, Director of Business Analytics for The Milwaukee Bucks
  • Nithin Ramachandran, Head of Artificial Intelligence at Direct Supply

Below are highlights from the panel discussion:

  • Empower your users. The talent that’s coming into organizations, whether on the technical side or on the business side, is far more technical than we’ve seen in generations past.  IT organizations can actually function like an internal consulting team – working with departments to help them develop their analytical capabilities.  Look for opportunities to arm end users with tools, access, and training so that technical teams can be kept lean and small.
  • Data literacy is an issue. Data literacy means speaking the language of data and being comfortable with it.  People don’t think in data.  Educate your users to understand the importance of data, how to put the data together the right way, and how to activate that information to make it meaningful.
  • It is essential to have leadership buy-in to Invest in analytics. Getting leadership buy-in is critical to secure the investment in data analytics and a data analytics team.  The key success factor is to ensure that the Leadership Team is engaged in understanding the direct alignment of the investment in data analytics to business growth.  Encourage the leadership team to ask questions to hone in on a certain decision, talk openly about what you are finding and what you could do better.  Speak the business language and get the leadership excited about the ROI from their investment.  
  • At the heart of every strong strategy and great operating plan is data. To deliver impactful business insights, focus on decision science: what are the various areas of the business, who is the client we serve in that business, and what decisions need to be made more effective.  After ensuring the process of decision science, use assisted intelligence to pull the data that enables you to make the decision. Then add augmented intelligence to provide additional context to the information to make a better decision. And finally, get to the point where the decision is available for you. It’s critical as a business to enhance the speed that decisions are made.
  • Data can be an expensive asset. It is important to make sure that the quality and use is beneficial.  A data governance team can be essential.  Serving directly within the business, the team’s responsibility is to manage data assets.  They work hand-in-hand with the owners of the data, as well as the technology teams, to ensure not only accurate data, but to guarantee that the data moves through the pipeline to the necessary consumers.
  • Credibility, trust and impact help create a data-driven culture. Having credible people on the team who speak beyond the data, but actually speak for data in the business, becomes critically important. Making the point that a data-driven decision, in the long run and across a variety of cases, is better than a human-driven decision. To engage trust, change the mindset of data analytics.  Stop looking at data analytics as a service and start looking at it as a product.  Construct the metrics and the analytics that are most impactful to your users.  Spend time understanding what it was like to live a day in their shoes and then build solutions that become deeply embedded in the business.
  • The future of data analytics looks bright. Not just the future of data analytics, but the future of the data analytics talent pipeline – especially in Milwaukee and within the region. In the last several years, there has been a convergence of companies coming together to build along the tech coalition and establish partnerships with academic institutions. This allows companies to advance and our community just gets stronger.