Dumbill Data Science Discussions

Edd Dumbill is the general manager for the Strata Conference, recently wrote a nice post on Google+ titled “Why Do We Need Data Science?

Here is a really good insight from Dumbill and how data science applies to business:

Why is the scientific method applicable to business and data?

Every company’s business is complex in itself, and they operate in a complex world. The financial, economic and societal structures we live and do business in are complex. Because of this complexity and interactions, businesses can be viewed in the same light as organic, biological systems. They are complex entities within a complex system.

This is where science comes into play. Even assuming you could come up with a top-down mathematical model of your business, there’s too much interaction and randomness with complex systems for your model to be practical. Thus, the exploratory approach of science becomes useful to a business.

Your world and business is a giant laboratory, and ever more so as the world becomes more networked. By employing data scientists you can discover better how your business works, how it can be improved, and find new things you can do that you didn’t know of before. To do this, you must connect up three kinds of people: the business folk, the data scientists and the data engineers.

I do like Dumbill’s take here and there is absolute merit with applying the scientific method to business activities.   Peter Wang of Streamitive commented on Dumbill’s post as well, and has some interesting points…

Ultimately, data doesn’t mean anything without trying to answer questions.  To get actionable information, you need data and you need to be asking the right questions. That’s why the scientific method is so important – it’s all about posing a hypothesis or asking a question, and then squeezing the right information out of the data in order to answer it.

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I currently serve as Vice President of Decision Science at CenturyLink. I've previously served as a leader in the Advanced Risk & Compliance Analytics (ARCA) practice at PwC and as Director of Data Science & Analytics Engineering at Areté Associates. I've served the public as Chair of the Thousand Oaks, CA Planning Commission. I have been married to my wife Stephanie since 1993, and we have a wonderful daughter Monroe. Learn more about me »

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