Last week I suggested that the role of data scientist may be best played by a team.
Given the scarcity of these super humans, it makes far more sense to fill the role., if required, with a blend of roles.
Many of the Data Science skills identified – statistician, SQL programmer, JAVA programmer etc – can be found in existing positions. With big data driving demand, it may be necessary to supplement these skills with specialist skills in new technologies such as Hadoop.
However, early adopters of big data technologies, such as Cardinal Health, are discovering that the biggest driver of big data value comes from those internal people who understand the relationship between data and the business.
According to Cardinal Health’s, Neeraj Kumar – quoted on SearchDataManagement.com – “Innovation does not happen via consultants. It happens when you have skin in the game, when you have people working with [the data] who understand the business and understand the problems.”
In most businesses, these people already exist – they are called business analysts.
Business analysts play a key bridging role between business and IT, precisely the area where data management tends to play.
However, the best business analysts are not (particularly) technical – even simple programing may well be beyond them, let alone the complexities of SQL, JAVA, Python and other big data paradigms. Rather, their value lies in their business knowledge.
I suggest that business analysts can be empowered to help drive informed data analytics discussions through the use of data profiling tools, such as Trillium Software Discovery.
Good data profiling tools are useful for data science for the same reasons that they support data governance.
Leading data profiling tools do not require programming skills, rather they save time and effort by allowing the user to focus on the data anomalies and issues discovered, collaborate with team members and make informed decisions.
Data profiling tools ask all the necessary questions of the data leaving the analyst to focus on the insight.
A data aware business analyst is far more valuable, and sexy, than a technically inclined data scientist.
Have you enabled you business analysts to be data aware?