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Demonstrating value and measuring success from data science

Waqar Zaidi
13/04/17
Data science is pretty hot right now. Search for a data scientist on LinkedIn and you’re spoiled for choice. Mention data science in the C-suite and you’ll spark conversations about big data and how best to leverage it. We’re all sold on the potential of big data and predictive analytics, but how much does the average business really understand about the complex world of data science? 

According to Gartner, the majority of companies are actually falling short of the mark. For too long, the conversation has centred on how many petabytes or zettabytes of storage a company might need. Instead, what we should have been discussing was how businesses can recognise key trends in customer behaviour or identify their most valuable customers.

It’s time to start making the most of data science by having the conversations that matter. A good place to start is by asking what value your business can get out of data science and how best to measure its success. Or, how to nurture business processes to ensure that data science takes your business to the next level.

How data science helps to demonstrate value

 So, if business success means making the most of your data and using analytics to better predict business outcomes, how do you get there?

Data science powers business value in a number of ways:
  • Enabling management to make better decisions: By maximising your analytic competencies and abilities, you can feed these insights into every part of the decision-making process at every level of the company. Put simply, real-time insights equals more informed choices.

  • Suggesting actions based on trends: The findings of data science offer a clear direction towards improving a company’s performance, achieving more effective customer engagement and boosting the bottom line. 

  • Identifying business opportunities: The role of a data scientist is to continually query current processes in an effort to develop new methods and analytical algorithms.

  • Helping to define audiences: Almost all companies will have access to customer data through Google Analytics and customer feedback, but not all will capitalise on that data. By identifying key demographic groups across a variety of data sources, organisations can create a more bespoke product and service offering to those audience groups.

Tips for unlocking business value with a data strategy

There is a huge amount of potential for any business that invests in data science. In the words of Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President at Apple Retail: “Consumer data will be the biggest differentiator in the next two to three years. Whoever unlocks the reams of data that we’re all collecting on consumers, and then uses it strategically, will win.”

In order to effectively unlock those reams of data, a business needs a modern data strategy. According to the Big data: Forging corporate capabilities for the long-term report', 20% of UK businesses lack the skills to use data effectively. Comparatively, 35% of those questioned that have a clear data strategy report a stronger financial performance than their competitors.
Here are three steps you can take to create a strategy that is up to the job.

Think business first

IT projects always have a purpose, so it’s important to identify the key business impact you want to achieve through data science. You might want to use it to leverage customer insights, improve a product offering, develop an entirely new service, or reduce your business risks. Whatever problem you choose, commit to resolving that specific business challenge.

Check your architecture is fit for purpose

How much value are your existing systems adding to your business? Out-dated systems can be hard to scale and difficult to evolve with the ever-changing business landscape. You want a solution that allows you to think about analytics in a completely new way. When choosing that system, stick with the three As of big data: anything, anywhere, and anyone.

Build a team of experts

Having the right team in place from the very start will help you successfully reach that end goal. Make sure that everyone involved in-house and externally is on board with finding a tailor-made solution to your specific business problem. There’s no one-solution-fits-all so only settle for the very best talent you can find.

If you want to make hiring and retaining top data talent a priority for your business get in touch with the team at Capita IT Resourcing today.

Register here
for our Big Data and Data Analytics event on Tuesday 25th April.
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