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What a Mentor Taught Me About Being an Analyst - Part Two

In my last article, I discussed my transition to becoming an industry analyst and a great mentor that took me under his wing and taught me some important lessons.

Those lessons include:

1)     Teach a process: Provide the tools to see a problem in a new light and successfully tackle it.

2)     Challenge “sacred cows”: Go against the grain of conventional wisdom, providing a broader and more informed perspective on a topic.

3)     Develop an expert: Arm people with insights to make them respected subject-matter authorities within their organization.

4)     Help save money: Supported with critical information and skills, help people make better investment decisions for their organizations.

Last time I discussed teaching a process, developing experts, and saving money. Today I’d like to address challenging “sacred cows”.

It’s easy to follow the herd and accept conventional wisdom as truth – without questioning it. While that approach may serve someone’s interests, it may not serve yours. We believe in shining the light of perspective on these issues through our research and at our impending Real Business Intelligence conference (July 11th and 12th on the campus of MIT in Cambridge, MA):

Our inaugural conference is designed to be small and intimate. It’s a single track event intended to ensure that each attendee receives 100% of the benefit of being there - as well as meaningful networking with peers and faculty. 

All sessions have been curated and staffed to support these guiding principles and each will help to make attendees subject-matter authorities and will help to save their organizations money. Many will also teach process and will challenge conventional wisdom.

Here are some examples of sessions that will challenge those “sacred cows”:

·        In our State of Business Intelligence presentation, Bill Hostmann and I debunk myths surrounding the death of data warehousing, centers of excellence – and even Business Intelligence itself! And, based on our research, we share where BI is going and what’s really driving it into the future.

·        In the Performance-Directed Culture Workshop, Bill Hostmann and I highlight how cultural issues impede BI success - and not technology. Yet, when the going gets tough, we buy more tech! This session brings alive the diagnostic which I developed for my second book, Profiles in Performance, Business Intelligence Journeys and the Roadmap for Change.

·        In The Dark Side of Data Science, Dr. Cathy O’Neil shows the soft underbelly of data science, big data and algorithms, challenging the conventional wisdom that these approaches are some sort of a panacea. This will be balanced by a session from Airbnb’s Dr. Theresa Johnson, where they successfully employ data science in their business.

·        Professor Thomas W. Malone will share some of his latest research in his session entitled “Tapping Human Intelligence: Why Machines Will Never (Completely) Take Over” which challenges the notion that humans will become irrelevant as machines threaten to move in and displace us all.

All of these sessions are designed to force us all to think and question the conventional wisdom that we are confronted with every day.

We think that these sessions - and the rest of our agenda - are both exciting and different from other conferences you may have attended in the past.

We hope you can join us next week in Cambridge!

Best,

Howard

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