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Bill Schmarzo's Blog (77)

USF Hackathon: Making a Business Hypothesis Actionable with Prescriptive Outcomes

The opportunity to watch and coach the University of San Francisco (USF) students during our annual Hackathon with our friends at Good Dataprobably taught me as much as it taught the students. The lessons learned I’ll share here will not only benefit future classes, but my customers.  It also gives me an opportunity to make special mention of one Hackathon team that really delivered the goods!…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on December 10, 2018 at 5:23pm — No Comments

2019 Big Data and Data Science Predictions Through the Lens of Comedy Movies

It’s that time of year again when I look into the Crystal Skull…er, ball, and make some predictions of the continuing challenges and new trends I foresee in Big Data and Data Science for the coming year.

It’s Data “Business Model” Transformation, not Digitalization

Digital Transformation moves beyond just…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on December 5, 2018 at 8:43am — No Comments

Updated: Difference Between Business Intelligence and Data Science

I'm reposting this blog (with updated graphics) because I still get many questions about the difference between Business Intelligence and Data Science. Hope this blog helps.

I recently had a client ask me to explain to his management team the difference between a Business Intelligence (BI) Analyst and a Data Scientist.  I frequently hear this question, and typically resort to showing Figure 1 (BI Analyst vs. Data Scientist Characteristics chart, which shows the different attitudinal…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on December 2, 2018 at 7:00am — No Comments

Using Hypothesis Development Canvas to Predict Golden State Warrior Victories

The third annual University of San Francisco (USF) MBA class Golden State Warriors analytics exercise provided an opportunity to test the students’ ability to “Think Like a Data Scientist” with respect to identifying and quantifying variables that might be better predictors of performance for the Golden State Warriors professional basketball team. This was also an opportunity to test and fine-tune the Hypothesis Development Canvas, and boy was that an eye-opener for me. The…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on November 28, 2018 at 1:10pm — No Comments

Dean of Big Data’s Favorite Infographic Picks of 2018

My last University of San Francisco School of Management class of the semester is coming up this week. However instead of a normally boring presentation from me to cap the semester, we are going to review a few infographics to summarize our lessons from the semester. 

I also want to use this blog to give credit to Arielle Winchester for her creativity and patience to work with me in the construction of these infographics.  Here are my Top 10 infographics from…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on November 25, 2018 at 6:00am — No Comments

Turning Your Culture Into a Design Culture

Design is very easy to comprehend when you are building customer-centric products or services. Heck, it makes total sense to start from the customer perspective and to use the multitude of design thinking techniques to identify, validate, value and prioritize customers’ most important needs.  We got Personas, Journey Maps, Storyboards, Prototypes, Mockups, Canvases and such to help us intimately understand our customers, their environments and what it is they are trying to…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on November 20, 2018 at 6:55pm — No Comments

Dean of Big Data Driving the Snakes of Data Science Out of Ireland

I recently had the great opportunity to keynote the Analytics Institute of Ireland’s annual conference.  The event was marvelous!  Over 500 attendees, outstanding presentations from an impressive lineup of presenters, and heavy engagement from the participants before, during and after my keynote.

Lorcan Malone, CEO of…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on November 15, 2018 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Hypothesis Development Canvas Version 0.4

In the blog “Data Science ‘Paint by the Numbers’ with the Hypothesis Development Canvas,” I introduced the Hypothesis Development Canvas as a tool for linking an organization’s data science activities with the organization’s strategic business initiatives (see Figure 1). …

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on November 10, 2018 at 1:16pm — No Comments

How Millennials Should View the World of Data Science

Many of my MBA students are perplexed about how much data science capabilities and skills they need in order to get hired.  It appears that in many job interviews, employers are looking for students who have both business subject matter as well as data science expertise. Here is an example of such a conversation:

MBA Student: I get lots of questions about my data science skills. I don't understand the need for that from me. I will never be as good as a…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on November 8, 2018 at 1:38pm — No Comments

The Power of Reframing and the Economics of Starting Pitching

I’m a big fan of Woody Allen’s earlier movies such as “Bananas”, “Sleeper” and especially the award winning “Annie Hall.”  One of the things that always impressed me about Woody Allen was his ability to reframe the conversation in a way that was both provocative and creative. For example in the movie “Annie Hall”, there is a scene where Annie Hall (played by Diane Keaton) and Alvy Singer (played by Woody Allen) are sitting with their respective psychoanalysts when they are both asked…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on November 1, 2018 at 4:03am — No Comments

Data Science “Paint by the Numbers” with the Hypothesis Development Canvas

 When I was a kid, I use to love “Paint by the Numbers” sets.  Makes anyone who can paint or color between the lines a Rembrandt or Leonardo da Vinci (we can talk later about the long-term impact of forcing kids to “stay between the lines”).

 

Well, the design world is applying the “Paint by the…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on October 23, 2018 at 7:00am — No Comments

Critical Thinking and Becoming “Students of Data Science”

Social media and internet search scare me because it is so easy to acquire information without also acquiring the associated knowledge. It’s easy to find almost any information via search or social media, but an effective “student of data scientist” (as well as any effective future leader) must learn to discern easily acquired information with a sense of skepticism. To quote the character Dr. Ian Malcolm (played skillfully by Jeffrey Goldblum) in the movie “Jurassic Park:”…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on October 20, 2018 at 12:29pm — No Comments

Embracing Conflict to Fuel Digital Innovation

When talking to clients about their business goals, most business executives are pretty clear as to what they want to accomplish, such as reducing customer churn or reducing inventory costs or improving quality of care or improving product line profitability.  But these “one dimensional” business initiatives really don’t push the organization’s innovative thinking.  For example, I can easily reduce marketing costs if I significantly reduce advertising and…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on October 20, 2018 at 4:03am — No Comments

Why Is Data Science Different than Software Development?  It Starts with Data…Lots o’ DATA!!

Data science development is very different from software development, and getting the two to mesh is sometimes like trying to cobble together Tinker Toys with Lincoln Logs.  One data science expert once described the differences as:

Software development is “Measure twice; cut once,” while Data Science is “Cut, cut, cut!”

The methodologies and processes that support successful software development do not work for data science projects according to one…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on October 17, 2018 at 4:23am — No Comments

Predict ►Prescribe ►Prevent Analytics Value Cycle

Organizations looking for justification to move beyond legacy reporting, should review this little ditty from the healthcare industry:

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimates that the United States loses $750 billion annually to medical fraud, inefficiencies, and other siphons in the health-care system[1].

The report identified six major areas of waste: unnecessary services ($210 billion annually); inefficient…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on October 2, 2018 at 2:30pm — No Comments

AI and the Future of Millennials

AI has snuck into our daily lives and there is nothing to stop it. Not only does AI power autonomous vehicles, but AI already decides what products you should buy, what movies you should watch, what music you should listen to, and whom you should date. If you talk to your iPhone, Google Home, and Amazon Echo, you are talking to an AI engine that powers these personal virtual assistants. AI decides whether you are approved for a loan, determines the outcome of a job applications, identifies…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on September 30, 2018 at 2:11pm — No Comments

Data Engineers: Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner!

Oh,the lowly data engineer.  Harvard Business Review declared the role of the data scientist as “the sexiest job in the 21stcentury.” But the data engineer labors away in near obscurity acquiring, transforming, enriching, munging and preparing data for the data scientist to do their black magic.

In addition to building data pipelines –…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on September 26, 2018 at 6:22am — No Comments

Using Confusion Matrices to Quantify the Cost of Being Wrong

There are so many confusing and sometimes even counter-intuitive concepts in statistics.  I mean, come on…even explaining the differences between Null Hypothesis and Alternative Hypothesis can be an ordeal.  All I want to do is to understand and quantify the cost of my analytical models being wrong.

For example, let’s say that I’m a shepherd who has bad eyesight and have a hard time distinguishing between a wolf and a sheep dog.  That’s obviously…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on September 25, 2018 at 8:42am — 1 Comment

How do you know if you’re getting value from your data?

Perhaps to no one’s surprise, the growth in companies implementing Big Data and Analytics projects continues to climb – as evidenced by the continued growth in data lakes.  As most companies begin to implement their Big Data and Analytics strategy, they struggle to show value for their efforts.  This can come from several areas:

  • According to…
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Added by Bill Schmarzo on September 22, 2018 at 7:08am — No Comments

Aggregated Data Dilemma

Okay, I am weird (tell me something that I don’t know, say most of my friends).  For Christmas I wanted a Nike Apple Watch to go with my existing FitBit and Garmin fitness trackers (I look sort of like a cyborg in the photo below…which is always cool). 

While I was intrigued…

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Added by Bill Schmarzo on September 18, 2018 at 9:29am — No Comments

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