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Designing Solutions for Business Users NOT Data Scientists

By Richard Sharpe | 06/26/2014 | 11:54 AM | Categories: Web/Tech, Weblogs


There are a lot of opinions with regard to how insights should be gained or “mined” out of Big Data.  Clearly, no one has all of the answers today.  However a popular position is that companies will need to hire a team of data scientists to actually derive insights from Big Data.  I take a fundamentally different position on this for a number of reasons but the main headline is that effective solution that use Big Data need to be designed for the business users, not data scientists.

To make the point, let me take us back to my childhood years when we would play the “whisper” game.   We would line-up side by side, someone would have a phrase or saying in mind and they would whisper it into the ear of the person next to them.  The process would continue until the last person would have the phrase whispered to them and then they would say it out loud to the entire group.  How often do you think the original phrase matched the one that was announced to the group?

The same is true for making Big Data actionable. One approach is to hire data scientists to begin to organize data and to use various data manipulation and evaluation techniques to look for patterns and insights. These discoveries can then be provided to business users for review and possible use.  This may work well for some enterprises but having people who do not have the business knowledge try and discover these relevant insights seems problematic.

I recently ran the Big Data Track for the EyeForTransport (EFT) Conference in Chicago.  As part of that conference, I emphasized the need for Big Data initiatives to be very intentional in their focus and execution.  In future postings, I will elaborate on the three main points for the framework for driving success in using Big Data.  But the purpose of this posting is to emphasize that effective solutions using Big Data should be intentionally designed with the Business User’s needs in mind.

Big Data and Advanced Analytics are converging at a rapid pace.  Putting these solutions in the hands of Business Users will drive insights that drive intentionable performance improvements.

We would appreciate hearing your thoughts and comments.  All the best, Richard 



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The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Richard Sharpe

Richard Sharpe

Richard Sharpe is CEO of Competitive Insights, LLC (CI), a founding officer of the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) and designated by DC Velocity as a Rainmaker in the industry. For the last 25 years, Richard has been passionate about driving business value through the adoption of process and technology innovations. His current focus is to support CI's mission to enable companies to gain maximum value through specific, precise and actionable insights across the organization for smarter growth. CI delivers Enterprise Profit Insights (EPI) solutions that enable cross-functional users to increase and protect profitability. Prior to his current role, Richard was President of CAPS Logistics, the forerunner of supply chain optimization. Richard is a frequent speaker at national conferences and leading academic institutions. His current focus is to challenge executives to improve their company's competitive position by turning enterprise wide data from a liability to an asset through the use of applied business analytics.


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