Barbara Wixom is an associate professor at University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce and has also taken on a two-year visiting scholar role at MIT’s Center for IS Research. Far from buried in the academic side of analytics, Wixom is also a program chair of the BI Congress, a regular educational collaborative event that seeks to “align academia and practice” of business intelligence. Held in conjunction with the 2012 International Conference on Information Systems this December in Orlando, Fla., the BI Congress this year carries the theme, “Driving Innovation through Big Data Analytics.” In an interview with Information Management, Wixom discussed the evolving program for the Congress, the growing responsibility shown by vendors and where U.S. universities stand in closing the skills gap for business data analysts and more niche positions like data scientist. There’s no shortage of big data talk. Tell me some of the thought behind its role in academia and at this year’s event.

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