A good friend of mine, a chief strategy officer at a Fortune 100 company, has shared with me before the frustration of the amount of data the company has accumulated, but has not utilized in order to gather learnings and set a strategy. This has led to underutilized space, lack of space efficiency, and missed collaboration opportunities based on culture environments. The lack of collaboration may have also caused global innovation issues as well.
As I was perusing through my favorite read, The Harvard Business Review, an article entitled, “The Data Scientist: the Sexiest Job of the 21st Century,” caught my attention. In our work with corporate services clients, we’ve found the data frustration to be quite prevalent. Corporations often have their data stored and organized in certain silos, but is never analyzed to tell a story in order to direct a company into deeper innovation, strategic direction or long-term planning.
“A new role is fast gaining prominence in organizations: that of the data scientist. Data Scientists are the people who understand how to fish out answers to important business questions from today’s tsunami of unstructured information. As companies rush to capitalize on the potential of big data, the largest constraint many face is the scarcity of this special talent.”
One particular case study I found most interesting was based on the company LinkedIn. Jonathan Goldman, a Ph.D. in physics, was hired by LinkedIn to analyze its data and the 8 million accounts they had acquired by 2006. LinkedIn users were not connecting by utilizing the site to search for existing members to make a connection and beyond. “Goldman was one of those people who could coax treasure out of messy, unstructured data,” HBR reported. “He began to test what would happen if you presented users with names of people they hadn’t yet connected with but seemed likely to know-for example, people who had shared their tenures at schools and workplaces.”
Data Scientists are needed in every industry. We are a global marketplace full of information overload, with very little knowledge on how to manipulate the data into a format for strategic growth, innovation, and operational excellence. As we continue to dialogue with corporate executives in need of corporate services within their real estate portfolio; we are finding the expertise of a data scientist would serve our clients well and allow the corporate services teams to make more informed suggestions in order for the client to make a more informed decision.
As the HBR says, “The dominant trait among data scientists is an intense curiosity-a desire to go beneath the surface of a problem, find the questions at its heart, and distill them into a very clear set of hypotheses that can be tested.”