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September 22, 2017
Expanding Data Science Capabilities with Existing Employees
By: Jim Robertson

Many companies today face the challenge of analyzing large amounts of data—numerical, text, images, tweets, and so on. However, most companies do not have enough internal analytical capabilities to extract the maximum value from this data. While data scientists may be on staff, they are often dedicated to specific departments, such as marketing research, and have little bandwidth to take on tasks outside their department. The information technology (IT) department has the technical skills to acquire and store data but does not possess the tools or the talent to analyze it and extract insights for decision making. Without a clear road map of analytical projects and executive sponsorship to hire additional data scientists, companies continue to miss strategic opportunities from lacking the necessary tools and talent.

However, people with strong analytical capabilities can help bridge the gap between data scientists, IT specialists, and the need to analyze data to remain competitive by becoming citizen data scientists (CDSs). CDSs are functional managers and analysts with the skills and aptitude to take on analytical projects that expand their traditional roles. They typically lack formal data science training, but they have some analytical skills and an aptitude for data science combined with deep functional expertise.

CDSs often see opportunities to understand the business more deeply by using analytics but typically work in isolation from other similarly inclined employees and without targeted corporate support. However, CDSs can thrive in companies where they have an individual road map to improve their skills and where organizations understand how best to support their CDS community. When these individuals are provided with proper direction and support by organizations, CDSs can help achieve a company’s data science needs.

Do individuals in your organization recognize the skills required to be a CDS? Do they understand how to create a personal development plan that leverages their strengths and helps them understand their weaknesses? Does your organization recognize the benefits CDSs can provide and how to support them? The Accenture Academy courses The Role of a Citizen Data Scientist (CDS), Success Strategies for a Citizen Data Scientist (CDS), Corporate Strategies That Help a Citizen Data Scientist (CDS) Succeed will help provide a solid foundation for developing a well-defined CDS role, identify the success strategies for a CDS, and identify how to create corporate strategies to help a CDS succeed.

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