When we talk about job roles in data science, many designations like data scientist, machine learning engineer or data analyst pop into our minds. While these job roles have attained a prime status, the one role which has caught attention lately is that of a data strategist. While it is still not very popular in India, its prominence is slowly picking up.
Data Strategist: The Perfect Cocktail
Data strategists differ from data scientists wherein the former role is focussed more towards the business side as well as venturing into the big data space. Simply put, this role needs a person who has the right mixture of technology, analytics and business acumen. Usually, a data strategist’s role involves knowing the latest tech in the market and understanding the potential this tech could bring into the business. Based on this, he/she has to develop strategic insights that can take the company ahead business wise.
Although data scientist roles have risen across Europe and American regions, companies are now looking at candidates from different regions around the world, especially in India. To name
a few, tech firms like Infosys, Amazon and Capgemini are hiring professionals for data strategy roles.
Steering Towards Analytics
India has been significantly witnessing is a rise in the number of new tech startups especially in the field of AI, machine learning and data science. With an increase in the use of key capabilities such as analytics, AI and others, the roles of data strategists may increasingly become crucial to analyse how tech can work well for the business. Over a period of time, data strategists will be technically adept to adjust how much tech-based requirements is actually needed for the business.
One of the key areas where data strategists can focus is analytics. India’s vast potential in analytics talent can indirectly affect the data strategist role as tech skills in analytics can prove to be flexible for this strategy-intensive role. A typical example can be business intelligence (BI) skill. As evident, BI would fit into both, analytics and data strategy job roles.
Betting Big On Big Data
One cannot forget how important big data is for a data strategist. Analytics organisation SAS elaborates on how it can be very effective at an enterprise level.
“Putting together an enterprise data strategy (one time and ongoing) should be a fundamental responsibility of any organization that’s serious about using data to provide insights and direction. Even before introducing big data into a mature, sophisticated IT shop, you should anticipate the fact that big data sources are fundamentally different. The differences will require careful planning and staffing to ensure you’re prepared for the impact and potential risks involved as you learn to use big data effectively.”
This is where data strategists come into the picture. They bridge the gap where big data fails to be effective and also use it for decision making. Along with this, the strategy professional will also liaise between company employees and top level executives on the trends in the market where they could bank on other avenues or business areas.
Revitalising Strategic Decisions
Strictly speaking, strategic decisions are vital in any company and they cannot afford to casually go through these decisions that make or break them functionally. One wonderful point postulated by an article in Harvard Business Review goes like this:
“Before making any decision, the most important thing is to understand which field it is in. For routine judgments and choices, where we cannot influence outcomes and need not consider the competition, well-known lessons about avoiding common biases make good sense. For other decisions, a different set of skills is needed.
Decision makers need to develop two vital skills. First, they must be able to discern the nature of the decision at hand. Second, they need to respond with the appropriate approach, able to act now as a psychologist, then as a tactician, next as a riverboat gambler, and perhaps once again as a psychologist. When it comes to the most complex decisions of all, those that drive the fortunes of organizations, executives need more than an ability to avoid common errors. They require a seemingly contradictory blend: a talent for clear-eyed analysis and the ability to take bold action.”
Indian companies need to reinforce these when it comes to taking complex decisions as mentioned earlier. If strategy leans highly on developing and improvising tech than on extensively working on profits in companies, then there is a lot involved with respect to its implementation. Keying in on these falls in the hands of a data strategist. In the end, he/she taking on this role should never let strategy spiralling downwards for the company.