A Crowning Moment on Pi Day in Palo Alto

By Jack Phillips, Mar 23, 2017

IIA’s Spring Analytics Symposium in Silicon Valley last week is in the books and marked a significant milestone for our company across a variety of fronts:

100+ research clients attended the client-focused event.

Attendees appreciated the interactive format, the actionable insights, and the valuable networking opportunities. Overwhelmingly positive feedback on the conference as a whole.

World-class line-up of speakers including…

…Geoffrey Moore of Crossing the Chasm fame

…Paul Ballew, CDO/CAO of Ford Motor Company

…Jerry Kaplan of Stanford University

…and Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic, author of Storytelling with Data.

Public announcement of Bill Franks, formerly of Teradata, joining IIA as our full-time Chief Analytics Officer.

And, lastly the Symposium took place on Pi Day (3.14) at the fantastic VMware corporate campus, located in Palo Alto.

The innovation-themed agenda revealed how many of IIA’s research clients (e.g., Ford, VMware, Lilly, Cleveland Clinic) are driving high performance when it comes to analytics and data. The program included speakers from Silicon Valley digital native companies who shared their perspectives as businesses that were built on data. The contrast between traditional firms trying to graft new technologies onto legacy systems, and the data scientist-led firms like Pandora and Netflix was stark and illuminating.

A few of the key themes of the day included:

  • Enterprises who allow legacy technology systems and brittle corporate cultures to limit adoption of “leapfrog” analytics technologies (cloud, open-source, SaaS) will fall behind.

  • CEOs and Boards of Directors are tired of the hype of advanced analytic technologies and are digging in on tactics, capabilities, and results.

  • Staying close to business challenges, communicating the vision, telling the compelling stories, and quantifying the value are as important to the overall success of analytics in the enterprise as the tools and technologies.

  • With most firms dividing their analytics efforts between the drive to “monetize” data through new services and improve their core businesses, Geoffrey Moore introduced us to his newest “zone” approach to successfully compete in the age of digital disruption.

Plans are already underway for our Fall Symposium on Wednesday, October 11 in downtown Chicago. In addition to keynotes from industry leaders, the Fall Analytics Symposium will include a collection of hands-on case studies. Space is limited and seats will fill up quickly, so research clients are encouraged to reserve their place early. Stay tuned for updates and agenda announcements on

About the author

Author photo

Jack Phillips is a noted advisor and writer on the impact that business analytics and big data have on enterprises. Mr. Phillips founded the International Institute for Analytics (IIA) with Tom Davenport, and currently serves as its CEO. Mr. Phillips edited the 2012 book Enterprise Analytics: Optimize Performance, Process and Decisions Through Big Data.

In his work at IIA, the leading independent analytics research firm, Mr. Phillips focuses on how the adoption of data and analytics by certain firms leads to competitive differentiation and higher performance. Mr. Phillips speaks frequently on cultural changes, organizational models, talent acquisition and the requirements of new leaders in a data-driven world.

Mr. Phillips is a graduate of the Harvard Business School and Williams College, and lives with his wife and three children in Portland, Oregon.


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