May 19, 2023

Key Takeaways from the 2023 Great Lakes Data & Analytics Summit

- Scott Smith, Practice Director at WIT

With our 11th Great Lakes Data & Analytics Summit in the rearview mirror, it is easy to reflect on all the hard work related to planning and executing the event. Just like every other year, I’m so glad that we keep hosting the Summit, as it has become part of WIT’s collective DNA. But now that it’s over for this year, I’m also very happy to be able to focus on my day job once again, LOL.

Speaking of rearview mirror, I thought it would be good to begin a new tradition this year and formally comment on what I thought were some key takeaways from the Summit:

  1. In-Person Events Are Back! With the pandemic largely behind us, it is great to see a renewed interest in attending events in person once again. This year, we had almost 250 folks in attendance, which is a 40% increase over 2022!

  2. Where’s My Clone? No, you can’t be in four places at once without some kind of personal cloning device or time machine – it might be a little while longer before one of those is available. But for as long as we’ve hosted the event, I’ve always been a little frustrated that I miss a large chunk of the content in real time. This year was no different, with four simultaneous tracks of great presentations competing for attendance. I’m sure many of our attendees feel the same way. However, the good news is that we were able to record most of the sessions and have the presentation slides for all. I’m looking forward to seeing what I missed! You can find presentations and videos HERE in the resource library. 

  3. Data Science & AI Driving the Headlines Again. Aside from our keynotes, where those speakers basked alone in the spotlight, my good friend David Corliss’s presentation about bias in machine learning and AI was the highest attended session at the Summit. No surprise really – we all know that “AI” in all its permutations will continue to be a hot topic, if not the hottest topic, in both our professional and personal lives moving forward.

  4. Data Governance Awakens! Speaking of hot topics, a somewhat surprising development this year based on session attendance and feedback received, was a high level of interest in data governance. In my humble experience, real data governance seems to be a ‘nice to have’ in most organizations. But between the session comments and interest expressed in the data catalog solutions, perhaps we’re starting to see a turn for the positive. That’s great – as data governance is key for driving real business value from data & analytics.

  5. Survey Says…! In the waning moments of the Summit, we always ask the attendees to provide feedback via a paper survey that we distribute in real time. With questions like, “Was this a valuable use of your time?” and, “Would you return next year?”, etc., the feedback metrics were percentages in the high-90s! That’s definitely validation for us at WIT that hosting this event is worth OUR time too.


Well, enough rambling from me. If you attended the Summit this year, I hope it was a great day away from the daily grind. If you didn’t make it, you definitely missed out on some really informative content. Either way, we hope to see you next year!

(*No animals or bots were harmed in the writing of this blog. 😊)


About WIT

WIT is an analytics and automation consulting firm with over 25 years of experience. We help our clients build solutions to maximize the value of their data and analytics assets, and automate key business processes. In partnership with elite software companies, WIT’s capabilities span a broad spectrum of business functions and industry verticals.

Tagged: Data Trends, Great Lakes Summit, Analytics Technology

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