In a previous blog, we discussed the issues of how there is a growing skills gap in many organisations in respect of the staff and competencies an organisation needs to fully exploit what is widely referred to as ‘Big Data’. This time round, we explore a question we are frequently asked, “do we really need a data scientist”?
If we start by exploring the vast number of articles published every month on the subject, it is clear that much is discussed and written about in respect of tools, their availability and their application. Even more is talked about in terms of the benefits an organisation can realise from an effective strategy for data analytics, business information and ‘Big Data’ in general. However, by comparison, little is set out in respect of the role of the key ingredient in bringing the benefits to fruition, namely, the need for the human talent to bring it all together in a way in which the data can be used to solve complex business problems.
What we have observed is that for many organisations, the accessibility of the tools and products to deliver analytics and data mining has led to an increased awareness of the benefits. However, it has often then followed that the realisation of such benefits has been quite poor as they have frequently vested the responsibility to deliver to someone deep in the IT department or sometimes, to those buried in the creative suit of thinkers in the marketing department.
Our view? We don’t think you can do a great deal without real experts in this field. Call them Data Scientists if you like but these are the real alchemists who transform an inchoate mass of bits and bytes into a dataset suitable for analysis.
Get the right talented people into this key role and they can also interface with your other key senior executives, product managers, CTOs, CIOs and CMOs. So just in case you missed our answer, yes, you need them!
The real question you should be asking is “do we need them now”? In all of our experience, the real talent in the market is in short supply and as organisations wake up to the need and the recognition they can achieve real, demonstrable advantages from such staff, a return to the much hackneyed phrase, the ‘war for talent’, returns to front of mind.
It is also clear to us that many of these staff recognise their worth and with a fast moving remuneration battle on the horizon, it is increasingly clear to us that you need to tread carefully and put real effort into your recruitment and talent management strategy.
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