SMU wins inaugural Teradata University Network Teaching Innovation Award

19 Dec 2013

Associate Professor Michelle Cheong and Instructor Mr Murphy Choy from the School of Information Systems have been awarded the inaugural Teradata University Network (TUN) Teaching Innovation Award for their teaching case on “Effective Use of Data & Decision Analytics to Improve Order Distribution in a Supply Chain”.

The new TUN Teaching Innovation Award is designed to recognise excellence in the teaching of Business Intelligence and Business Analytics at the undergraduate, graduate and/or executive education levels. 

Associate Professor Michelle Cheong said, “This award is an affirmation and recognition of the efforts by Master of IT in Business (Analytics) programme for developing new pedagogical methodologies and approaches to make our courses and programmes in analytics more interesting, realistic and relevant for our students and for the business community.

“Operations problems in the services sector are often complex and the root causes are often not obvious. This often leads to people solving the wrong problems. The framework we present combines data and decision analytics which can help companies solve the RIGHT problem. Our case study has attracted much interest from Singapore and multinational companies in logistics, and in other services sectors. They have approached us for student internships and project consultancy work.”

Mr Murphy Choy, who received the award at the 2013 International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2013) in Milan, Italy on 16 December, added, “Many teaching cases assume that the problem objective is well defined and students will then go straight into solving the problem hoping to achieve the problem objective. In our teaching case, the problem objective is not defined upfront, just like in the real world business environment. In the case study, we first expose our students to a Data and Decision Analytics Framework which helps them to identify the root cause of operations-related business problems by collecting, preparing, and systematically exploring data to gain business insights into operational problems. They then use techniques from decision analytics to design and test solutions for improving supply chain performance.

“Based on the data analysis and decision models, we achieved an average of 20% reduction in the total number of delivery trips required. With the new proposed order intervals, the new proposed order sizes were computed using moving averages from historical order sizes, and were able to satisfy the retailers’ capacity constraints within reasonable limits.”

The SMU submission consisted of a case study and its accompanying teaching notes and laboratory guide, which are used as part of the “Operations Analytics & Applications” course in their Master of IT in Business (Analytics) programme offered by the School of Information Systems. The case study successfully demonstrated how insights can be obtained and new solutions can be proposed by integrating data analytics with decision analytics to reduce distribution cost for a logistics company. 

The TUN Awards Committee evaluated the submissions on teaching readiness, richness of supporting materials and innovation in providing new concepts and learning. “SMU won the award because its submission reflects considerable work, and provides a sophisticated set of teaching resources,” said Ms Susan Baxley, Director of Teradata University Network. “On top of that, the course has a well-thought class activity with appropriate ancillary materials, and places emphasis in identifying the root cause of the problem rather than assuming the problem or being given the problem.”

Led by academics, TUN is a free, web-based portal that provides teaching and learning content and hands-on, industrial-strength software tools for use by faculty and students in data warehousing, business intelligence/analytics and database curriculum.


[Featured photo: (L to R) Mr Murphy Choy, an Instructor with SMU School of Information Systems, Professor Ramesh Sharda, Chair of Teradata University Network Executive Committee, and Ms Susan Baxley, Director of Teradata University Network, at the award presentation ceremony in Milan, Italy.]

Last updated on 9 Mar 2017.

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