February 2024: Data Rich – but Collaboration Poor…?

Big Data has had its share of big news days, even becoming the coolest class at some California high schools.  And as California goes, so goes the nation.  Maybe, but with one caveat that might deter some would-be big-number crunchers: it turns out that data scientists actually have to talk to other people and even work together with them.

But why – wouldn’t it be easier to just lock the door and analyze the data without all the talking and collaboration?

Not according to the big-data experts at Rice University, who say that collaboration is one of the most important skills, and that a data analyst must be able to work with people from varied functions and backgrounds.  HBR concurs on the importance of collaboration, saying that getting returns from data requires that data experts clarify the options and make recommendations, that businesspeople identify the value, and that both, “…collaborate to identify areas where data provides the best returns for the organization,” so that better business decisions get made.

For some tips on building collaboration within large, complex teams, take a look at this HBR article, and this Forbes article about building a more collaborative business in the post-pandemic world.

And it turns out that business acumen matters too.  According to Rice University, for a data scientist, “…business acumen is about understanding how an industry or business, for example, insurance or retail, works in order to ask the right questions and communicate insights in a relevant way.”  Don’t say we never told you –  for over 25 years PriSim’s business simulation classes have been building the business acumen of both data scientists and those with whom they grudgingly work.

OK, that’s what we had to say and we’re done talking – you can go back to analyzing your big datasets now…