The phrase “right time, right place” was never more true than when Giles Nelson, SVP Product Strategy & Marketing for Software AG, happened to be in Texas visiting a customer a couple of weeks ago.
It just so happened that a well-known IT industry talk radio program was looking for an expert to discuss data science on its weekly, Texas-based episode. DM Radio, part of Information Management, focuses on detailed discussions about the people, products, services and trends that comprise the IT industry.
I suggested Giles, and the deal was done. Giles joined DM’s host Eric Kavanagh, who is also a consultant at the eGovernment Division of the United Nations, as well as a number of other distinguished guests. These included data scientist Dez Blanchfield of The Bloor Group, Dr. Paul Pallath of SAP, Michael Schmidt of Nutonian, Shayne Hodge of SnapLogic and Jason Stowe of Cycle Computing.
The topic, “Blinded by Science? Best Practices for Advanced Data Strategies,” sparked a keen discussion between the participants.
Eric Kavanagh defined data science as the “assiduous management of information assets for the benefit of a business.” And he noted that, with the advent of the Internet of Things, the collection of data has to become much more qualitative, i.e. quality counts.
“Predictive analytics won’t do you much good if the data is no good,” said Eric.
Giles agreed: “Every business will become a data-driven business. The key to data science is to manage and make sense of the deluge of data - to look at it as a continuum.”
He added, “It’s about the past, the now and the future. Having all three, from understanding what’s happened in the past, to reacting to the now, instantly, to predicting the future – all are key in a data driven world. “
Giles said that while the industry is pretty good at knowing what happened in the past and is getting better at predicting what will happen in the future using data, "what is missing is the now.”
Because of cloud-based computing, there is far greater processing power available for data which leads to new techniques being possible, said Giles. As the IoT emerges from its early stages, there will be a sea change in how businesses store, use and model data. “IoT represents the fusion of the real with the existing digital world.”
He concluded that it is not just financial services companies that will have to get to grips with data science, but also retailers, pharmaceutical firms and even mining companies.
“Any non-trivial organization has to become data centric, or it will be at a competitive disadvantage,” said Giles.