The Name Race: is O.R. Analytics?

Through a link in the latest INFORMS eNews email, I ended up watching IBM’s video on Analytics. That made me wonder whether we (O.R.ers) are losing the name recognition race. Broadly speaking, I think that O.R. and Analytics are the same thing. Nevertheless, I greatly prefer the name Analytics because of its more intuitive interpretation. It seems to me that with companies like IBM pushing for the term, I may have to say something like this in the near future: “I work in the field of Operations Research”, “What?”, “I mean, Analytics”, “Ahhh…”

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

2 Comments

Filed under Analytics, INFORMS

2 responses to “The Name Race: is O.R. Analytics?

  1. O.R., as it is currently defined, and Analytics are emphatically not one in the same. As the developer of the M.S. in Analytics at North Carolina State University’s Institute for Advanced Analytics, we blend statistics, computer science and IT, and various business disciplines, as well as O.R., into a curriculum that directly addresses the needs of employers in Analytics.

    O.R. is perhaps the discipline best positioned to evolve toward Analytics. But disciplines by their nature are slow moving, and tend to evolve away from practical problems to higher and higher levels of theory and abstraction. Thus new disciplines must emerge to fill in the knowledge gap.

    Young researchers in O.R would do well to step up and help define Analytics as it moves forward. It would be a mistake to believe the only difference between O.R. and Analytics is one of semantics.

  2. orbythebeach

    Michael, thank you very much for the detailed comment and explanation. I must admit that my “broadly speaking” was a bit too broad in the sense that it considers all disciplines that involve “using advanced analytical methods to help people make better decisions” as O.R. I am happy to see that Analytics is evolving so quickly into a widely recognized discipline and profession. I believe that the success of Analytics will have a positive impact in the visibility of the O.R. name as well.

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