‘Using big data to make better decisions’ panel discussion

‘Using big data to make better decisions’ panel discussion

Professionals from various industries learned about utilizing large amounts of complex data to make better business decisions at a panel discussion Monday.

Accelerate Madison and Big Data Madison Meetup, a Madison Chamber of Commerce program, co-hosted the event at Foley & Lardner, LLP. Panelists came from diverse backgrounds, including the health care, education and gaming industries.

One panelist, Greg Tracy of Propeller Health, said his organization was able to utilize big data both in improving business operations and tracking patient data.

Tracy said tracking data is easier now due to the increased availability of technology. “It’s way easier to get your hands on the analysis tools than it ever was before – it’s democratized,” he said. Tracy encouraged new companies to start tracking statistics and to implement an analysis system as soon as possible.

Event organizer Pitt Fagan, a data analyst at Zendesk, said data analysis is for companies in various industries of all sizes. “When people hear the words ‘big data’ or think about data science, they think about something that is overly complex or very large in scale. And I think as a result of that, people in smaller to medium-size companies think that doesn’t apply to them,” he said.

Fagan hoped the main thing attendees took away from the event is that the techniques large companies use can be applied to smaller businesses to improve data-driven decision-making.

Kevin Little, vice president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, echoed this point. “The reason there is so much more demand in big data is that so many other businesses that didn’t used to consider themselves as technology businesses now need that talent so that they can take all of the information they’re receiving from their customers to make better decisions,” Little said.

The panel was Big Data Madison’s first event of the year. It is the largest tech meetup group in the state, with over 1,500 members.