Big Data

Why data scientists need to understand the business

At the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration, Angela Zutavern of AlixPartners explained how data scientists can provide the most value for their companies.

At the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration, Angela Zutavern of AlixPartners spoke with TechRepublic's Alison DeNisco Rayome about how data scientists can provide the most value for their companies. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

Angela Zutavern: Data scientists are facing a real struggle within many companies today. They're great at building algorithms, and data science techniques, and even tackling tricky ethics and privacy issues. What they're not doing across the board, is seeing the project through, to the final business impact, and business results.

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One thing that data scientists can do is get more familiar with the business side of the organization, the penile statements and financials, the chart of accounts, and they can understand the highest priority opportunities within the organization — whether those are growth opportunities, or cost-savings opportunities, and then trace where their project fits within the overall financials of the company. You're not done once the algorithm has reached a high level of accuracy. You need to see it through to implementation, and then bottom-line financial results.

Data scientists really thrive when they're working together in diverse teams. Data sciences is all about experimentation. You can't do data science without experimentation. And the more creative the group, the more interesting the models are, and the more accurate the outcome. I've seen, time and time again, that bringing together people from diverse backgrounds really adds to a data science project.

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About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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