Data science future holds possibilities

Big data has changed the game in information technology in general, and is likely to shape the future of business intelligence.

One of the more compelling questions posed by the new methods involves data science. According to Smart Data Collective contributor Gil Press, there are several directions the profession could take in future, each of which has powerful implications for the future of data science and IT in general.

Data presents options

Press explained that IT departments and data scientists could split into distinct sections and move forward independent of one another. He stated that such a solution would place the data users into a research function reporting to a high ranking corporate officer, possibly the CEO. He offered PayPal as an example of a company already employing data scientists as a separate function outside of IT.

An alternative solution offered by Press also notes that data science is vital to the future of companies but posits that it could stay within the IT section. In this scenario, data becomes the guiding principle of the technology department, which changes its role from support to transformation and becomes the leading section in an enterprise-wide data adoption effort.

One of Press’ suggestions that may seem difficult to consider involves the takeover of IT functions by the marketing department. He surmised that sales functions are heavily focused on data already, with many of the new data points collected by companies coming from customers and relating to product development. Press posited that marketing officers could take direct control of such functions, effectively guiding the destiny of tech decisions. He stated that some analysts believe such an arrangement could be in place by 2017.

Marketing makes a match

Marketing departments have already found a new use for analytics tools, according to the New York Times. The source found that some supermarkets have plans in motion to deploy completely customized pricing models based on past transaction history. The firms have plans to move well beyond the traditional model of a rewards program based on coupons or offers sent out periodically.

There could be barriers to such a drastic data and sales integration. The Times cited a previous survey that found many customers are leery of companies constantly adjusting pricing structures. According to the source, however, marketers are confident that the transition from classic rewards cards to the overall model will be smooth.

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