Forever True, For Iowa State

Business in the big data age

In a business world awash in data, getting and staying ahead often requires finding the proverbial drop of insight in an ocean of information.

At Iowa State, researchers are diving deep into this sea of numbers to help companies understand and benefit from the data around them in ways that will make them more efficient, more secure and more profitable – and, most of all, better able to serve their customers.

“As the demand for data-savvy workers has skyrocketed, Iowa State has moved in sync with the need,” says David Spalding, Raisbeck Endowed Dean of the Ivy College of Business.

Ivy College of Business researchers across multiple disciplines are teaming up to find the best approaches to help organizations leverage data to their greatest advantage. Their work is a shining example of the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign’s focus on garnering donor support to help advance Iowa State as a leader in the urgent quest for global solutions.

For instance, Sree Nilakanta, associate professor of information systems and Kingland Graduate Director of Business Analytics, along with his colleague Kevin Scheibe, Thome Professor in Business and chair of the department of information systems and business analytics, studied more than a decade’s worth of maintenance data on hundreds of snowplows owned by the Iowa Department of Transportation. Because the DOT pays about $200,000 per plow-equipped dump truck, the agency is eager to squeeze every last ounce of snowflake-scooping productivity from the vehicles.

“To be able to apply different analytic methods allows us to go through massive amounts of data and create a series of options that enables decision-makers to make better choices,” Scheibe says.

As the world moves forward, the organizations poised to succeed are the ones that can take advantage of the data being generated in ever-growing volumes. And Iowa State’s interdisciplinary, collaborative culture uniquely positions the university to help everyone benefit from the insights being unlocked in these data.