Center for Digital Innovations and Data Analytics
Digital technologies and innovations are disrupting business models and threatening to wipe out entire industries and yet, at the same time creating unprecedented opportunities. Netflix erased Blockbuster off the map. Amazon has put Toys “R” Us out of business. In fact, the entire brick and mortar retail industry is under threat from the digital commerce businesses. Banks and financial services institutions are forced to reinvent themselves thanks to the FinTech revolution. And the list is long and we are only in the beginnings of the disruption. In the process of causing disruption, technological innovations are also creating opportunities for new business models and new product categories. Startups are raising funds through campaigns on digital platforms like Kickstarter. Digital platforms like Uber have reduced transaction costs for consumers and created value. The imperative for us is to prepare our students for a future that is being shaped by many forces including the convergence of digital technologies, big data, and artificial intelligence. With a history of staying at the forefront of innovations, the Operations Management and Information Systems area in the NIU College of Business aspires to continue the journey.
This journey will cross disciplinary boundaries as we design programs, courses and experiences that bring to bear expertise from multiple domains and functional areas. The preparation resulting from these efforts will shape young minds to be innovators. As we ponder over firms that have inspired innovation, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Uber and Netflix are a few exemplars that come to mind. And what stands out across these firms is that every one of them derives its power from data and insights from it. Indeed, Google searches, credit card payments, and Facebook posts generate a phenomenal volume of data. And these firms are able to analyze these data to make informed decisions on how to enhance their business and analyze consumer behavior. Hence, it is no surprise that careers in this space of analytic understanding are the fastest growing occupations in the US and are projected to grow eleven percent (11%) in the next ten years. This is faster than the average growth for all other occupations. Simply put, the ability to access and analyze data is a capability that every graduate, irrespective of his/her area of study, is expected to have. Just in the last two years, we have placed significant emphasis on data analytics in our curriculum to ensure that graduates possess the capabilities to analyze data and draw actionable insights.
The launch of a platform – Center for Digital Innovations and Data Analytics – will provide students an opportunity to stay at the cutting edge. With such preparation, our graduates are not only ready for the future but will remain at forefront of shaping it.
Dollar-for-Dollar Matching Gift
The College of Business received a generous donation from OM&IS Board Chair Chris Millington and OM&IS Board Vice Chair Amit Patel for building the Center for Digital Innovations and Data Analytics in Barsema Hall. Chris and Amit feel so strongly that the new Data Analytics online graduate program (MSDA) and the center provide students with rich hands-on learning experiences of helping organizations transform their business through the strategic adoption of digitization, innovation, and analytics.
To this end, Chris and Amit will match, dollar-for-dollar up to $150,000, any new contribution for the center made during the Day of Giving. The match will create a Data Analytics Fund to build the center and promote the NIU data analytics program offered through the College of Business.