Mark L. Spearman, Keynote: “Being Relevant in the Age of Analytics,” May 8th at the Production and Operations Management Annual Conference

Operations Research (“OR”) became a discipline in World War II with the use of the scientific method to determine the best operational strategies to employ in submarine, air, and other forms of warfare.  At the time, it was clear that the important discipline of Production and Operations Management (“POM”) coming out of OR would be world changing and would address all sorts of business and societal problems.  While POM has been adopted in numerous areas, many would argue that it has yet to achieve its full potential.

Today, with the advent of “Big Data” and “Analytics”, it appears that the promise of POM will finally be realized.  Indeed, it was not too many years ago that if one said the word, “analytics” in a pitch to industry, she would be dismissed and not invited back.  Today, analytics is HOT!

In this talk, Spearman will suggest methods to help make production and operations management more powerful, more meaningful, and its practitioners, more successful.  The focus will be on why some research is relevant and other research is not, thereby providing a means of judging relevance.  The talk will include a discussion of some of the challenges facing big data and analytics, and conclude with a number of anecdotes that illustrate why it is more fun to be relevant and astute than just to be clever and smart.