Business analytics and big data have become a strategic topic high on the managerial agenda. The use of analytics for decision making is a characteristic of top-performing organizations. Many businesses already experienced that their ability to transform data into insights and results has become an important source of sustainable competitive advantage. Analytics is key in this transformation process, and implies the use of statistical and quantitative analysis, predictive modeling and optimization as drivers for business decision making. Analytics goes beyond data access and reporting. Being analytical is not limited to implementing a set of statistical and quantitative techniques and associated software, but starts with the recognition that the right organizational and cultural factors must be in place.
The Amsterdam Center for Business Analytics aims at developing, disseminating and exploiting business analytics/big data knowledge and applications by bringing together businesses and scientific research (academia). ACBA is part of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Central to all activities of ACBA is the development and application of highly qualified scientific research. The founding departments (department of Mathematics of the Faculty of Exact Sciences, the department of Computer Science and the department Information, Logistics and Innovation of the School of Business and Economics) have a rich history in scientific research on analytics, as well as in collaboration with businesses on analytics. As such ACBA has professionals that are able to combine scientific research with understanding of business problems.
What exactly is Big Data?
‘Big’ should not necessarily be interpreted as ‘much’ data. The term is used for applications where the quantity of data and analysis techniques are large and complex enough to require unusual, advanced technologies for storage, security, data management, visualization and analysis. These applications are accordingly beyond the reach of traditional database and data warehousing technologies.
Is Big Data new for VU Amsterdam?
Regarding the essence of Big Data, which is about translating data into action-oriented insights, then research groups in various faculties have been engaged on this aspect for a very long time. Many different labels have been given to the research involved in the course of time. The term ‘Big Data’ was coined in 2008 in a special issue of Nature (2008), but is consistent with a line of thought in which the importance of data is shifting from a ‘transaction vehicle’ to a ‘source of value’. Big Data makes new analyses in the Business Analytics domain possible and feasible. For example, Big Data tools allow analyses that would once have taken days to be completed in a matter of hours. Business Analytics is an area of research that we at VU Amsterdam have been engaged on for many years, and in which we have accumulated substantial expertise and experience. VU Amsterdam Faculty of Sciences even has a separate ‘Business Analytics’ programme, in which the School of Business and Economics plays an important role.
More information can be found on the ACBA website >