14-03-2016 Door: Sjoerd Janssen

Gartner BI and Analytics Summit 2016: The Citizen Data Scientist

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On the 29th of February and 1st of March I attended, together with more than 1000 other attendees, the Gartner BI and Analytics Summit in London. This inspiring event took place in the brand new Intercontinental hotel attached to the O2 arena, with a beautiful view over the river Thames.

Gartner predicts…
The opening keynote was full with the kind of provocative predictions that Gartner is well known for. To cite a few:
"By 2020 75% of large and midsize organizations globally will compete using advanced analytics and proprietary algorithms."
Data is all around us. And more and more organizations have come to the conclusion that analytics are not only needed to compete and differentiate, but that they even will or have become a necessity to stay in business. Analytics is all around us. Not only to generate better predictions (what will happen), but also to prescribe (what should we do to make it happen). And when embedding these analytics in machines, we create smart machines:
"By 2020 smart machines will be a top five investment priority for more than 30% of CIOs."
And most of these machines are all connected in the internet of things world.
Analytics will and should be a key priority of almost any business. Therefore it is important that Analytical leaders stand up and convince their organizations of its importance. To do this, they should create hard business cases, linking data and analytics to business outcomes.
"By 2020 50% of data and analytics leaders will have successfully created a narrative that links financial objectives to data and analytics"
There is still plenty of room for improvement here. So what is happening right now? which trends are already visible in the current marketplace and within organizations?
Rise of the Citizen Data Scientist
One of the key tends of today is self-service business intelligence and analytics. Self-service has, for several years already, been part of the message of most traditional business intelligence vendors out there. However, the innovations in this area have come from newer vendors like Qlik and Tableau. These vendors together with Microsoft, with its Power BI product, now lead the pack in the new Gartner Magic Quadrant for business intelligence and analytics platforms. This new magic quadrant represents the shift from IT-led enterprise reporting to business-led self-service business intelligence and analytics.
But not only business intelligence and analytics have become self-service. There now also are self-service data preparation and even self-service advanced analytics tools on the market place that really enable users to prepare and analyze the data themselves. And though these tools will not be suitable for each and every business users, you also do not have to be a highly skilled data scientist to make use of them. This is where Gartner coins a new term: "Citizen Data Scientist".
A "Citizen Data Scientist" is not a real data scientist, in the sense that this business user does not have all the mathematical, statistical and technical skills needed to create advanced analytical models. But he or she does have the business knowledge and some intermediate analytical skills required to, supported by these self-service tools, create impactful analytics. And where a data scientist on his own can make a huge impact by applying advanced analytics, a growing number of "Citizen Data Scientists" together also can have this huge impact.
And with the rise of these "Citizen Data Scientist" the focus shifts from ‘single version of the truth’ to ‘self-service’. The key to success then seems to be to find an organizational model and a technical architecture that delivers both agility and governance. And although some of the sessions at the summit certainly addressed this, this challenge remains.



Sjoerd Janssen

Sjoerd Janssen is Data Governance Architect bij ASML en lid redactieadviesraad BI-Platform.

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