June 05, 2014

Accenture’s Analytics Case Competition for Northwestern University Graduate Students Focuses on Improved Efficiencies for City of Chicago

CHICAGO; June 5, 2014 – Teams of Northwestern University graduate students competing in the annual Accenture (NYSE: ACN) Analytics Case Competition have designed new ways for the City of Chicago to use analytics to increase its efficiency and improve constituent service.

The graduate students analyzed data from the city’s data portal, which provides public access to information on city departments, services, facilities and performance. The teams looked for patterns and trends in electric power and natural gas usage based on building type and location, and in other civic services – ranging from reports of potholes to requests for graffiti removal. This type of data mining is used to derive business intelligence from large volumes of unrelated data, and the contest encouraged students to take innovative approaches to this task.

Winners Andy Fox, Monsu Mathew, and Kyle Hundman present their case at
the Accenture analytics competition.

The winning team – Northwestern graduate students Andy Fox, Kyle Hundman and Monsu Mathew – designed a program that analyzed fluctuations in energy use in residential buildings to further refine the city’s energy efficiency initiatives. The winners, who will share a $1,000 prize, were chosen from three teams of finalists that recently presented their proposals to a panel of Accenture and City of Chicago executives.

“Seizing the potential of big data is essential as organizations strive to transform data into insights that enhance customer relationships, drive competitive differentiation and streamline operations,” said Shahid Ahmed, managing director, Accenture’s Communications industry group, North America. “The challenge these students faced was to apply their knowledge and theories to real-world scenarios and then think creatively about what other insights the data might provide.”

“This competition highlights some of the incredible research done by Northwestern’s finest engineers in using the power of big data to make our city services more efficient and our government more effective,” said Brenna Berman, Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) Commissioner and CIO. “By increasing our data transparency we can provide a platform for our brightest minds to showcase their skills and innovative spirit to make the City of Chicago a 21st century economy.”

The competition was open to two- or three-member graduate student teams from programs at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science: the Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program (http://www.mem.northwestern.edu/), the Master in Science of Analytics (MSiA) program (http://www.analytics.northwestern.edu/


, or anyone enrolled in the Managerial Analytics course.

“Innovative examples of using analytics are appearing in many different industries and, of course, government agencies as organizations unlock the promise of big data to drive new analytic insights and act on them,” said Mark Werwath, clinical associate professor, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences and director, Master of Engineering Management program, Northwestern University. “As analytics expands, so do the opportunities to design compelling, useful programs.”

One of the other finalist teams focused on analyzing public data to develop a preventive maintenance spending plan to ensure that roads are in the best possible condition when bad weather hits. The third finalist team analyzed data from 311 calls to more efficiently route service vehicles to maximize the number of 311 call responses without requiring increased funding.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 289,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

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Barbara Burgess
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