Un­der­stand­ing our data is the bedrock of all other de­vel­op­ments on our jour­ney

Data is an as­set that will never de­pre­ci­ate, says Scott Sin­clair

The Scotsman - - Friends Of The Scotsman / Education -

Ev­ery­where we look, and ev­ery com­mu­ni­ca­tion we re­ceive through the me­dia, re­in­forces the im­por­tance that data plays in our every­day lives. Of­ten, we see the ben­e­fits in our per­sonal lives be­fore we fully un­der­stand the pos­i­tive im­pact that data and the pro­duc­tive use of data can make.

We all re­ceive prompts from Face­book, Google, Ama­zon, etc on items that may in­ter­est us or places that we should visit. All of this is based on our be­hav­iours, our in­ter­ac­tion with these ser­vices, and the ser­vice provider us­ing the data that you cre­ate through in­ter­ac­tion to pre­dict what you may like or need next.

Imag­ine how pro­duc­tive our work­places would be if we could repli­cate these be­hav­iours and de­velop- ments – we could im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity, re­duce the risk of ac­ci­dents, in­crease sales, im­prove re­li­a­bil­ity of our prod­ucts or ser­vices, in­flu­ence our cus­tomers, or beat our com­peti­tors to market.

All of this is pos­si­ble, if we em­brace data sci­ence or the con­cepts within ‘Fac­to­ries of the Fu­ture/in­dus­trie 4.0’.

Tech­nol­ogy on its own is merely an en­abler, tech­nol­ogy that works from data be­comes more pro­duc­tive, ben­e­fi­cial and there­fore pow­er­ful. We hear of­ten the ‘buzz’ terms of ma­chine learn­ing and AI (Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence), but for most of us, we have much to gain from the pos­i­tive use of our data and from bet­ter un­der­stand­ing our data, be­fore we progress to AI and ma­chine learn­ing.

We should think of data is to busi­ness what blood is to hu­mans: it pro- vides the cir­cu­la­tion of nu­tri­ents and en­ergy that help us de­velop our per­for­mance, re­cover from ex­er­tion, sup­ports the func­tion of our vi­tal or­gans, and ul­ti­mately keeps our sys­tems run­ning.

As we de­velop our use of data, so we will recog­nise the im­por­tance of de­vel­op­ing skills across our busi­nesses to max­imise im­pact. Who would have thought only a few years ago that our or­gan­i­sa­tion struc­tures would have a need for a Data Sci­en­tist, and a role at a level like any change agent within busi­ness, in­flu­enc­ing at a se­nior level. Those who don’t seize the ini­tia­tive in this area will be left be­hind.

Our data cre­ates a com­mon lan­guage, bridg­ing over func­tional areas of our busi­nesses which pre­vi­ously had process or tech­nol­ogy spe- cial­ists, and jar­gon which suc­ceeded in iso­lat­ing many. Our new data out­look cre­ates com­mon plat­forms and lan­guage, which if de­signed and in­te­grated across our pro­cesses, will sim­plify and re­duce the num­ber of trans­ac­tions, thereby speed­ing up our ac­tiv­i­ties. This turn will make life eas­ier for those in the work­place, rather than cre­at­ing the gloomy fear of ‘here come the ro­bots’ pre­dic­tions.

In ex­pand­ing our knowl­edge in these areas within the Ceed net­work, we can see the com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage that we have within the Scot­tish busi­ness sup­port net­works, with market lead­ing in­tel­li­gence and knowl­edge through our in­no­va­tion cen­tres, specif­i­cally in this field with ‘The Data Lab’ and ‘CENCIS’, but also across many in­no­va­tive Scot­tish com­pa­nies. We re­cently held our first ex­ploratory

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