About the Project

About the Project

In recent years there has been substantial growth in interest in business analytics from both practitioners and academics. In businesses this has been fuelled in the main by the large volumes of data now available, mostly from online sources such as social networks and the Internet of Things (the data generated by machinery and products tagged with RFID chips). These 'big data' sources have garnered much media attention and the interest of businesses across a variety of industries.

Whilst much of this data is freely available, and many of the tools used to process it are open-source, the challenge for many businesses is finding the staff that can utilise these technologies, analyse the data, and translate it into actionable business insights. A recent McKinsey report (Manyika et al 2011) claims that between 140,000-190,000 "more deep analytical talent positions" and 1.5million "data-savvy managers" will be required in the U.S. alone. These findings have also been supported by reports from many other software vendors and consultancies such as OracleAccenture and IDC.

At the same time, criticisms have been made that university business schools in general are not keeping up with technological advancements and, as consequence, are not preparing graduates with the skills required (e.g. Watson, 2008). Similar criticisms have been made about the failure of Information Systems courses to keep up with new trends in business intelligence and analytics (e.g. Wixom et al, 2011; Chiang et al, 2012).

Equally the quantitative disciplines which inform analytics have also been subject to criticism. Operational Research / Management Science (OR/MS), regarded by many as the discipline which informs "advanced analytics" (e.g. Lustig et al, 2010), has been argued to have become increasingly disconnected from modern business practices (Sodhi and Tang, 2008). Whilst the leading societies in both the US and UK, INFORMS and the OR Society, have sought to promote OR/MS' role in this developing field, there is uncertainty whether the discipline is adequately preparing graduates for employment in analytics.

The ORATER project was designed to investigate these issues and explore how universities may meet these growing needs of modern businesses and will combine a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods to achieve this. As part of this research interviews are being sort from analytics professionals, recruiters and experts, as well as those working in academia in related fields. Also, a questionnaire is being designed to measure the requirements of students, and potential students, of analytics courses. If you can help in either of these areas please contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The ORATER project is funded and supported by the OR Society and Loughborough University.



MJ Mortenson

Michael Mortenson
Michael is a current doctorate candidate at Loughborough University researching the development of analytics education in UK universities. He holds an honours degree from Middlesex University and an MSc in e-Business Management from Warwick University. Prior to returning to academia he has worked for several years in marketing and ecommerce in the travel industry and in recent years has worked as a consultant providing digital marketing and analytics services to a variety of companies. His research interests and specialisms include business analytics, marketing/digital analytics, e-business and internet retailing. Michael is principal contact for the ORATER project and can be reached by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via this website. View his full profile here.

NF Doherty

Professor Neil F. Doherty
Neil has a varied academic background with an honours degree in Management Science, an MSc in Engineering Management and a Doctorate in Software Engineering. After working as a programmer, systems analyst and team leader, Neil returned to academia and currently holds the post of Professor of Information Management at Loughborough University. His specialisms are primarily in the Information Systems domain and include the treatment of organisational issues in systems development, the organisational impacts of IT, the role of information security policies and the impact of strategic information systems planning. He has acted in editorial roles, and has work published in several leading Information Systems, Marketing and Retailing journals. View his full profile here.

S Robinson

Professor Stewart Robinson
Stewart is Professor of Management Science at Loughborough University and the Vice President of the Operational Research Society. He is also co-founder of the Journal of Simulation, and co-founder of the OR Society Simulation Workshop conference series. Stewart holds an honours degree in Management Science/Operational Research and a PhD both from Lancaster University. Specialising in simulation, Stewart’s work is published in journals such as Journal of the Operational Research Society, European Journal of Operational Research, Simulation Transactions, Simulation Practice and Theory, and is the author of 5 books including Simulation: The Practice of Model Development and Use (Wiley, 2004). View his full profile here.



Chiang RHL, Goes P and Stohr EA (2012). Business Intelligence and Analytics Education, and Program Development: A Unique Opportunity for the Information Systems Discipline. ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems, 3: 12-25.

Lustig I, Dietrich B, Johnson C and Dziekan C (2010). The Analytics Journey. Analytics Magazine, [Online Version], November/December 2010, pp11-13. Available from: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/c5e7ab79#/c5e7ab79/12 [accessed: January 2013].

Manyika J, Chui M, Brown B, Bughin J, Dobbs R, Roxburgh C and Hung Byers A (2011). Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity, [Online]. McKinsey Global Institute. Available from: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/mgi/research/technology_and_innovation/big_data_the_next_frontier_for_innovation [accessed: February 2013].

Sodhi M and Tang C (2008). The OR/MS Ecosystem: Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats. Operations Research8: 267-277.

Watson H (2008). Business Schools Need to Change What They Teach. Business Intelligence Journal8: 4-7.

Wixom B, Ariyachandra T, Goul M, Gray P, Kulkarni U and Phillips-Wren G (2011). The Current State of Business Intelligence in Academia. Communications of the Association of Information Systems, 29: 299-311.

Vesset D, Wardley M, McDonough B and Schubmehl D (2012). Worldwide Business Analytics Software 2012-2016 Forecast and 2011 Vendor Shares. IDC. Available from: http://idcdocserv.com/235494e_sas [accessed February 2013].

Vujanic A (2008). Most U.S. Companies say Business Analytics still Future Goal, not Present Reality, [Online]. Accenture. Available from: http://newsroom.accenture.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=4777#rel [accessed February 2013].

Yu Vespi C (2012). From Overload to Impact: An Industry Scorecard on Big Data Business Challenges, [Online]. Oracle. Available from: http://www.oracle.com/webapps/dialogue/ns/dlgwelcome.jsp?p_ext=Y&p_dlg_id=12350238&src=7546261&Act=4 [accessed February 2013].

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    The ORATER Project, C/O MJ Mortenson, School of Business & Economics, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU