Melbourne Business School News SAS to sponsor the 2024 Centre for Business Analytics Practice Prize

SAS to sponsor the 2024 Centre for Business Analytics Practice Prize

One of the world’s top analytics companies is throwing its support behind our Practice Prize for outstanding applications of business analytics.

Dr Jenny George awards Business Analytics Practice Prize

Global leader in analytics and software solutions SAS has been named as the official sponsor for this year’s Centre for Business Analytics Practice Prize.

Awarded annually at the Melbourne Business Analytics Conference, the SAS Practice Prize, as it is now known, recognises outstanding applications of business analytics with significant organisational impact.

Professor Yalçın Akçay, Director of the Centre for Business Analytics, said SAS’s sponsorship of the prize underscored a shared commitment to advancing the field of business analytics.

The partnership not only provides a platform to recognise and celebrate innovative analytics projects, but also reinforces the importance of data-driven decision-making in achieving business success,” he said.

“By sponsoring this prize, SAS continues to support and inspire the next generation of analytics leaders, driving forward the boundaries of what can be achieved through advanced analytics.”

Craig Jennings, Vice President and Managing Director of SAS Australia and New Zealand, said the partnership was an example of the ongoing collaboration between SAS and Melbourne Business School that built on the company’s 10 years of support for the Master of Business Analytics program.

“SAS is proud to be the sponsor of the Practice Prize, where we have seen outstanding examples of finalists taking data and AI and applying this to real-world use cases with a significant practical impact,” he said.

Major companies among finalists

Teams from Coles, Forethought and Suncorp have been selected as finalists for this year’s $10,000 award, which celebrates real-world data projects that have had significant organisational impact.

The three finalists will be evaluated based on the detailed reports they submitted to the judging panel. They will then present their cases as part of the Melbourne Analytics Business Conference on Thursday, 15 August, with the winner being of the SAS Practice Prize being announced at the end of the session.

"The Melbourne Business Analytics Conference is an excellent platform for sharing knowledge and fostering collaboration,” Professor Akçay said.

“This year’s finalists in the SAS Practice Prize demonstrate the incredible impact that data-driven insights can have across different industries.

“I encourage everyone interested in the future of business analytics to join us for this exciting session.”

Let’s meet the finalists.


Submission: “Maximising Retail Profits with Dynamic Markdown Strategy”

Coles has taken a bold step in the retail sector with their dynamic markdown strategy project to manage items reaching the end of shelf life.

By leveraging advanced analytics and state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms, Coles has developed a sophisticated model that optimises pricing strategies to maximise revenue.

This model considers a rich set of factors, including inventory levels, sales velocity, and seasonal trends, to determine the perfect timing and discount levels for markdowns. The result is a highly dynamic and responsive pricing strategy that not only boosts profitability but also improves inventory turnover and enhances customer satisfaction.

This innovative approach underscores Coles' commitment to harnessing the power of data to drive business success and stay ahead in the competitive retail landscape.


Submission: “Optimising the Cabin Experience for Cathay Pacific”

Forethought's project saw them partner with Cathay Pacific to revolutionise the airline’s cabin experience through a comprehensive and scientifically robust research program.

The project aimed to enhance the food and beverage (F&B) offerings and refine the seat design to elevate customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. Key insights uncovered the critical role of authentic cultural dining experiences and the overwhelming preference for flatbed seats in business class. These insights empowered Cathay Pacific to make strategic changes that are projected to significantly boost customer satisfaction and solidify its standing as a leading premium airline.

This initiative not only highlights the power of market research but also showcases how data-driven decisions can transform the customer experience in the aviation industry.


Submission: “Leading with Climate Analytics”

Suncorp’s project stands out for its innovative approach to managing climate risks through advanced analytics. By developing an extensive catalogue of climate indices and integrating artificial intelligence, Suncorp has created predictive models that translate complex climate data into actionable financial insights.

These models allow Suncorp to proactively adjust the pricing of natural hazard insurance, ensuring that their policies accurately reflect the evolving climate risks across Australia and New Zealand. This groundbreaking work not only enhances Suncorp’s operational resilience but also sets a new standard for the insurance industry in climate-informed underwriting and risk management.

Suncorp’s leadership in this area demonstrates how cutting-edge analytics can drive significant advancements in both business strategy and societal resilience.

Judging Panel for the SAS Practice Prize

The judging panel for this year's SAS Practice Prize is composed of leaders in the fields of data and analytics, including:

The panel brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, ensuring that the finalists are evaluated by some of the foremost leaders in the field of analytics and business strategy.

To attend the SAS Practice Prize, register for the Melbourne Business Analytics Conference on Thursday, 15 August at the Grand Hyatt.

For more analytics information and research, visit our Centre for Business Analytics page.

To find out more about studying at Melbourne Business School, visit our Degree Programs and Short Courses pages, or learn about our range of services For Organisations.

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