Three Things to Know about Big Data
HR has heard all about big data and how important it will be to the business going forward. Firms know they need to have an analytics package to be competitive but what else do they need to know? Alejandra Saragoza at FastCompany argues that data artisans are the new data scientists. Saragosa shares that the term data artisan was crafted by the firm, Altreyx, and refers to professionals who combine both the technical ability to evaluate statistics with the business acumen to know what to do with that data. These “data artisans allow businesses to do deeper, more predictive analytics that they would otherwise be able to do.”
Actionable decisions often take more than data and knowledge of the business though. The firm needs strong communication and someone who is able to tell that story in a persuasive manner. Judy Bayer and Marie Taillard in a piece for the Harvard Business Review tell us that “great analysts tell great stories based on the results of their analyses. Stories, after all, make results more user-friendly, and more persuasive.” Scientists just need to remain aware that the data tells the story and isn’t manipulated to tell firm what they desire to hear. Bayer and Taillard caution, “the enabling storyline should not be too restrictive: it needs to support the development of the plot and characters as they emerge from the analysis, but without bias. Conversely, the storyline can suggest specific questions to be asked of the data for a more in-depth analysis.”
In a market dominated by imagery, firms must be able to tell data’s story increasingly in a visual manner as well. Sinan Aral the Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Times R&D Lab recently shared his perspective with the Harvard Business Review on this topic. Aral has been participating in a project to determine if data visualization is actionable in and of itself. Aral states, “We’re doing this to understand and predict when an online cascade or conversation will result in a tidal wave of content consumption on the Times, and also when it won’t. More importantly we are interested in how the word-of-mouth conversation drives readership, subscriptions, and ad revenue; how the Times can improve their own participation in conversation to drive engagement; how we can identify truly influential readers who themselves drive engagement; and how the Times can then engage these influential users in a way that compliments the users’ own needs and interests.”
The same actionable insights will be invaluable to HR leadership when adopted. Join HCI on November 6, 2013 at 1pm ET for the webcast, Understanding and Applying Workforce Analytics for Strategic Sales Growth. Our panel of expert practitioners will discuss how any organization, regardless of size or industry, can develop a workforce plan rooted in analytics that directly supports its strategic intent.