Data, and conversations about its management and fair use, took center stage at the ninth annual Harvard IT Summit last week, held on the campus of Harvard Business School (HBS). The full day of programming featured nearly 40 individual sessions, as well as keynotes from the CEO of Kraft Analytics, Jessica Gelman ’97, M.B.A. ’02, and Scott Snook, MBA Class of 1958 Senior Lecturer of Business Administration at HBS.
“When the CIO council envisioned this summit nine years ago, we knew that the key to advancing Harvard’s mission through technology was all of you,” said Vice President and University Chief Information Officer Anne Margulies in opening remarks to the more than 1,500 Harvard IT professionals at the event. “We’re thrilled that this IT Summit has endured. But investing in the IT workforce can’t just happen one day per year. … Investing in you has been a priority in our strategic plan. And over the past few years we’ve launched a number of initiatives to support our IT staff.”
Sections throughout the day focused some of these initiatives, as well as on topics such as diversity and tech in higher education, using artificial intelligence to improve collaboration, and how to help support good online behavior through technology design. Key members of Harvard’s team supporting its nascent Digital Accessibility Policy also presented on the role that everyone in the Harvard community can play in creating a more accessible online environment.
Gelman’s keynote was one of many conversations that delved into data usage. As head of an analytics company that works with professional franchises from four of the nation’s five major-leagues sports, she offered the audience at HBS’ gleaming new Klarman Hall several case studies into how her company helps clients use data to grow their businesses.
“Our focus is, how do we make this use of data simple to folks in the sports industry?” Gelman explained. “How do we give them a golden record? The first component is data management … [for] all of the systems that go into running a sports organization. How do we pull that information? How do we get a single view of our customers?”