Why is it important for you as a manager to improve  your data science skills?

Data in business is the foundation of innovation and competitive advantage. Using data to gain insights, managers can address business challenges in improving their ability to take tough decisions .

Data is the backbone of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in a  myriad of fields from science to finance. As a mangers you are awash today in  huge amounts of data—about their employees’ skills sets and experiences, customers’ preferences and habits, supply chain throughput and costs, and industry and market trends, etc.  With the surge in the amount of data available to business has comes the question- how do we leverage data for to make more impactful decisions? 

A 2016 Data & Analytics Report by MIT Sloan Management Review and SAS found that  although analytics is now a mainstream idea, many companies still struggled to figure out how to use analytics to get the most out of their data.  The number of managers reporting that their organisations  gained a competitive edge from data showed a significant decline  from 66% in 2012  to just 51% in 2015.  The proliferation of data has been accompanied by better technology to mine and analyse it, as well as a creation new job opportunities in  data science and analytics.

Collecting the data is not enough, managers need to put analytics to work to act on insights strategically. Although there is access to larger amounts of data, there is still a lack of know-how in applying analytical insights to strategic decisions in industry. In order to bridge the gap, companies will have to recruit managers with specialist data knowledge who have a balance of business knowledge and data science analytics.

What is a data science manager and to what extent does management as a whole need analytics?

Forbes explains that ‘Data scientists utilise their knowledge of statistics and modeling to convert data into actionable insights about everything from product development to customer retention to new business opportunities. The majors that lend themselves to data science are statistics, mathematics, economics, operations research, and computer science.’  A manager with data science skills would be able to apply a wide range of techniques and processes for collecting, analysing, and interpreting data to reveal patterns and relationships to solve business problems and provide analytical insights. These insights impact on their strategic decisions for the business.  As a manager, they would have a firm grip of the logic of the industry they are in, the business implications of their analyses and be able to qualify the value that the data adds to the business.

To maintain a competitive edge, the manager well versed in data science should be able to analyse data combining it with industry knowledge to gain insight into the nature of the problems and potential solutions for the business..  Managers whose  data sciences expertise is limited are potentially missing out businessopportunities. Companies should focus on nurturing  managers that are also data specialists who can translate business concepts from the data into analytic outcomes. This ‘all round’ approach will bridge the data skills gap and help businesses take advantage of analytics and profit from its benefits. Data analytics is the stepping stone for managers are all levels who want to enrich their organisations and careers.

There also needs to be much closer relationship between the industry and education institutes to ensure that management students are firmly focused on the demands of industry.

 A data-driven manager will have the capability to reframe the scope of a problem, using analytics,  posed by the business.  Companies will profit in investing  in training programs that leverage analytics as the foundation of management. The transformation to a data culture takes a concerted effort,  time and talent. Getting the right managerial skills in the company provides the best vehicle to achieving success in implementing the best decisions driven by data analytics. 

 Looking to enhance your data science managerial skills? In our Summer School in Bayonne, as well as in our Master Classes in Europe, we put business analytics to work for you and for your organization. The Institute focuses on five applications of data science for managers: digital economics, data-driven decision making, machine learning, community management, and visual communications. Improving managerial decision making can make difference in your future work and career.