|By William Schmarzo||
|December 30, 2016 04:00 AM EST||
I spend a lot of time helping organizations to “think like a data scientist.” My book “Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science” has several chapters devoted to helping business leaders to embrace the power of data scientist thinking. My Big Data MBA class at the University of San Francisco School of Management focuses on teaching tomorrow’s business executives the power of analytics and data science to optimize key business processes, uncover new monetization opportunities and create a more compelling, engaging customer and channel engagement.
However in working with our data science teams, I have come to realize that we also need to address the other side of the data science equation; that we need to teach the data scientists in order for them to think like business executives. If the data science team cannot present the analytic results in a way that is relevant and meaningful to the business (so that it is clear what actions the business leaders need to take), then why bother.
In order to engagement more effectively with the business users, here are a couple of key points that the data science team needs to understand as they conduct their analytics:
#1: Tie the analytic results back to the organization’s key business initiatives, and more specifically, the organization’s key business decisions that drive them.
The data science team needs to understand thoroughly the key decisions that the business users are trying to make. Then, the data science team can present where and how the analytic results can help the business users make better decisions.
As part of ensuring that the analytic results are relevant and meaningful to the business, it is also critical to tie the analytic results back to the organization’s key financial or business drivers. Figure 1 shows an example of linking the analytics to the organization’s key financial and business drivers around the following business decision:
Which customers should receive which promotional offers?
Figure 1: Sample of Key Financial And Business Drivers
The Harvey Balls in Figure 1 show the relative impact that the promotional offer analytics would have on 6 key financial and business drivers in support of the customer targeting business decision.
Tying the analytic results back to organization’s financial or business drivers is key to ensuring that the data science work is relevant and meaningful to the business.
#2: Presentation of the analytic results is critical.
Don’t make the business users wade through the analytic output to try to figure out what’s important. Instead, make sure that the most meaningful analytic results stand out loud and clear to the business users. If the data supports it, make it stupidly clear where they should focus their attention and efforts.
For example, Figure 2 shows some sample analytic output that the data science team created around the business initiative of improving ground transportation effectiveness at a large location (e.g., shopping mall, port, arena) during a large event.
Figure 2: Raw Analytic Results
The business users had to look very hard at this slide to see what the slide was telling them about the business, and specifically what to do. That’s not what the business users want, and that is not how we ensure that our data science work is meaningful and actionable.
Instead, let’s apply some basic concepts to surface the meaningful and actionable insights. In Figure 3, we’ve developed some simple extensions to ensure that the meaningful and actionable insights come to the surface.
Figure 3: Presenting Actionable Insights
Instead of expecting the business users to wade through the analytics to determine what to do, Figure 3 highlights the key analytic insights or business “takeaways” (sometimes called “aha’s”) in the blue ribbon. Then the rest of the slide can illustrate how the analytics support the conclusions and insights. In particular, we have:
- Highlighted the key actionable takeaways in the blue ribbon at the bottom of the analysis
- We’ve removed extraneous bullet points, words and graphics that are not relevant to the key analytic takeaways.
- We have highlighted the specific areas of the analysis that most loudly support our key takeaways.
Sometimes less really is more!
And if you really want to drive home your analytic points, get a marketing expert (thanks Phil Dussault) to present the analytic insights into a way that is engaging and exciting, while still being informative (see Figure 4).
Figure 4: Marketing Presentation of Analytic Results
Now that’s way cool!
Summary: “Thinking Like a Business Executive”
Data scientists can increase their value to the organization when they start to think like a business executive; to focus on how their business audience is going to consume the results of the analytics. The effectiveness of your data science work can be dramatically increased by:
- Tying the analytic results back to the organization’s key decisions and the organization’s key financial and business drivers.
- Effectively and clearly presenting the analytic results, insights and recommendations in a way that is engaging, informative and actionable to the business users.
When the data scientist has accomplished those objectives, then they’re well on their way to making themselves indispensable to the business and crossing the chasm to “thinking like a business executive.”
To hear a bit more about this “thinking like a business executive” approach, catch my “Respect the Data” presentation at the EMC Global Services booth at EMC World on Wednesday, May 4th at noon.
The post Tips for Data Scientists: Think Like a Business Executive appeared first on InFocus.
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
Feb. 22, 2017 08:00 AM EST Reads: 573
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of Soli...
Feb. 22, 2017 07:30 AM EST Reads: 242
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
Feb. 22, 2017 07:00 AM EST Reads: 2,877
To manage complex web services with lots of calls to the cloud, many businesses have invested in Application Performance Management (APM) and Network Performance Management (NPM) tools. Together APM and NPM tools are essential aids in improving a business's infrastructure required to support an effective web experience... but they are missing a critical component - Internet visibility.
Feb. 22, 2017 06:45 AM EST Reads: 1,608
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
Feb. 22, 2017 06:00 AM EST Reads: 1,820
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" ...
Feb. 22, 2017 06:00 AM EST Reads: 5,234
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Feb. 22, 2017 05:45 AM EST Reads: 1,667
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, explained the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is rele...
Feb. 22, 2017 03:15 AM EST Reads: 5,501
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Feb. 22, 2017 03:00 AM EST Reads: 2,039
Hardware virtualization and cloud computing allowed us to increase resource utilization and increase our flexibility to respond to business demand. Docker Containers are the next quantum leap - Are they?! Databases always represented an additional set of challenges unique to running workloads requiring a maximum of I/O, network, CPU resources combined with data locality.
Feb. 22, 2017 02:45 AM EST Reads: 2,018
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Feb. 22, 2017 02:00 AM EST Reads: 12,986
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Feb. 22, 2017 01:45 AM EST Reads: 6,060
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and micro services. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your contain...
Feb. 22, 2017 01:30 AM EST Reads: 3,540
Feb. 22, 2017 01:30 AM EST Reads: 4,133
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Feb. 22, 2017 01:15 AM EST Reads: 5,529