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Big Data and Science: Focus on the Business and Team, Not the Data (Part 3 of 3)

By Mary Ludloff

Let me tell you a little secret: I always know when I am talking (and working) with a company that has successfully launched big data initiatives. There are three characteristics that these companies share:

  1. A C-level executive runs the “[big] data operations.”
  2. The Chief Data Officer (even if they are the CIO) has a heavy business/operations background.
  3. The data team is focused on the “business,” not the data.

Did you notice that technology and data science are not reflected in any of the characteristics? Some of you may consider this sacrilege—after all, we are operating in a world where technology (and I happily work for one of those companies) has changed the data collection, usage, and analysis game. Colleges and universities are now offering master degrees in analytics. The role of the data scientist has been pretty much deified (I refer you to Part 1 of this series). And we all need to be very worried about the “talent shortage” and our ability to recruit the “right analytical team” (I refer you to Part 2 of this series).

Yes—technology has had a tremendous impact on how much data we can collect and the ways in which we can analyze it but not everyone needs to be a senior computer programmer. Yes—we all should strive to be more mathematically inclined but not all of us need Master’s or PhD’s in statistics or analytics. Yes—some companies, based on their business models, may have a staff of data scientists but others may get along just fine without one (with the occasional analytics consultant lending a hand). (more…)

October 20, 2012 at 4:50 am 4 comments


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