Making a Data Strategy
Many people have "tried data science" and have been unhappy with the results. The reason it didn't work for them is because they didn't look at the big picture and they didn't make sure that every essential piece was in place. Like any three-legged stool, if one or two legs are missing, it won't work the way you'd like it to. Let's look at each of these.
There are formal definitions of Big Data that usually talk about the Three V's - volume, veracity, and variety. You might have all those. You might not. The important question for you is whether there is data attainable that will help you solve your problems. That data can be yours, such as sales figures and sensor readings. It could be outside your organization such as trending topics on twitter or census data for your region. A good example of integrating such data is a shipping company combining its ships' GPS data with NOAA's weather data to adjust ship speed and port arrival times. When developing a data strategy, Foster Analytics will focus on the problem you need to solve and the information needed to solve it, then we'll figure out how to get it.
Do we need to upgrade out network? Do we need to store data in the cloud or our own data warehouse? Are spreadsheets good enough? Do we need to create new software? The answer to all of these is "it depends". The specific answers for your company depend on its size, the number of people needing access to the data, the amount of data you'll be working with, how often you need to update the analysis, and so forth. Your data plan and your IT plan need to be in sync, but it doesn't have to involve the newest and most expensive technologies. Foster Analytics will help develop a data strategy that is in-line with your budgetary and IT goals.
More questions to consider--Do I need to hire a full-time data scientist?Can my IT people and my software engineers handle it themselves? What if I don't even have IT people? You already know the answer to those questions. No doubt whoever is currently responsible for your technology needs to be involved in implementing the data strategy. That does not mean they need to spearhead the project though nor that they have the expertise. Even the title of Data Scientist might not be specialized enough for your needs. A person who is good at designing dashboards is different from the person who is good at working with sensor data who is different from the person who can fine tune your machine learning model. Foster Analytics will help you determine the capabilities of your current staff and bring in the assistance of experts when needed.
But that's just part of the people component to a good data strategy. In order for a data strategy to succeed, the whole operation needs to believe in the value of the data. After all, you're not "doing data" because it's a trend, you are embracing data-driven solutions because they will help everyone in your company do their job better, as well as cut costs, increase efficiency, improve your product or service, and so forth. When Foster Analytics helps you develop your data strategy, we'll work with your whole team to understand their data needs, their routines and their goals, to help create an enduring culture that maximizes the value of data.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
It may seem like a big task. It is. However, it does not need to be haphazard and ambiguous. Foster Analytics will work with you and your team to develop short-term and long-term plans that are focused and comprehensive. We'll identify the low-hanging fruit and the best ROI. Our goal is to help you reach your goals.