Data scientists
If you’re currently employed as a data scientist and more importantly have a passion for data then I bet you’re like a pig in shit right now. Although its pretty difficult to come up with a number, research has estimated that there are currently over 12 billion internet-connected devices globally – that’s 1.7 devices per person.

In 2007 PCs accounted for two-thirds of all connected devices whereas today PCs, smartphones, and tablets account for less than a third. The explosion in connectivity is immense and with the current prediction of 4.3 connected devices per person by 2020 the data scientist is now seen as one of the most important roles in any data rich organisation.

Data is fueling our daily lives and the way we interact with brands, so it’s never been more important that someone is on hand to turn this valuable resource into actionable insights. Marketing agencies are one type of company where the ‘data scientist’ role definitely exists and is a highly refined art.

As the marketplace becomes more crowded with brands, data insight needs to be spot on to ensure creative campaigns stand out and products sing against their competitors. This can be achieved through effective database management and analysis which can help marketers glean crucial consumer insights. What is the consumer’s passion in life? Where do they spend their time? How often do they interact with the brand?

Who needs a data scientist?

Take British Gas for example – it was reported on today that they are setting up a data science division to focus on uncovering business efficiency insights from data stored in the company’s Hadoop data lake. With such a vast amount of data available, British Gas are hoping to be able to use these insights to drive improvements in customer experience and to create products that their customers actually want. With the addition of AlertMe, the smart home tech outfit behind its Hive service, they now own a lot of data including our temperature preferences throughout the day as we control our heating at the touch of a smartphone screen.

So – they have the data and they have a data science division. All they now need is to put this to work and hopefully watch the rich insight drop out the sausage machine, and then use this information to drive a much smarter, consumer led business.

Is all data useful?

Not really!

It takes a specialist’s eye and effective data strategy to ensure the most relevant information is extracted and used to the best advantage. For marketing they want aggregated consumer data to segment effectively and drive much richer personalised engagements with the consumer. For the corporate strategy division, aggregated reporting is vital to provide the relevant insights to help make decisions on where to focus the product development or customer experience investment. The applications of a data scientists skills are vast and complex, and it’s for this reason that the data scientists are now so vital to the future success of any data rich business.

If you want to know and understand more about the way data is changing the world you live in, or would like to know how data can add value to your business, please email me at


Dave Gurney

CEO, Alchemetrics - Expert in Data & Digital Marketing
enabling senior marketers to value from engaging customers online.