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Karen O'Brien

Karen O’Brien

Division Chief at U.S. Army Material Command Analysis Group

Karen O’Brien is the Operations and Analytics Division Chief in the Army Materiel Command’s Analytics Group. With a 20-year analytics career ranging from ballistics to logistics, Ms. O’Brien supports Army leaders at the highest levels with innovative analyses that save taxpayer money today and preserve tomorrow’s decision space. She is at her best untangling complex systems, working with sparse data and no precedent. Ms. O’Brien was a physics and chemistry nerd as an undergrad and holds a MS in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University.


Track: Analytics in the Public Sector

Analytics in Defense Logistics: Decision-centric Analytics in a Data-centric World

As the analytics marketplace fills with easy-to-implement data-centric technology solutions, a critical niche is increasingly underserved: decision-centric analytics. Decision-centric analytics is nevertheless the mainstay of senior leaders and their staffs. In developing an advanced analytics capability in support of Army decision-makers at the 4-star level, the Army Material Command has navigated this paradigm gap. The key to success has been using the conceptual analytics framework provided by Keenan, Owen, and Schumacher in 2019 to provide a common vocabulary and meeting ground for these two very different approaches to analytics. Examples will be provided to illustrate the success that can be achieved when data-centric and decision-centric experts meet in the middle.