Abstract: When companies want to become great at most competencies - we want to be design driven! we want a great brand! - they often invest in building robust teams around those disciplines. When companies want to become more data driven, however, the instinct is different: the first focus is often on tooling and efficient scaling.
Nobody believes they can become a leading tech company and only hire a few engineers. Nobody believes they can be the next Apple by buying the design tools that Apple designers buy. Nobody believes they can have a brand like Nike by using their marketing automation tools. In these disciplines, companies understand that expertise comes from investing in the experts.
With data, it’s different. We often act as though we can be like Airbnb by copying their data stack. We try to make ourselves data-driven by “scaling ourselves,” by providing data access to everyone and assuming this makes us smarter. As a result, companies focus on making data accessible, and often neglect making sure that access leads to true business value.
Companies that want to become data driven should take a different approach: they should hire more analysts. Without more expert data practitioners, companies often have the appearance of being data driven, but actually aren’t - people look at a lot of data and make a lot of charts, but not better decisions. The talk will outline the dangers of the this approach, and present ideas for how companies, and the data industry as a whole, can cultivate and find the talent necessary to make this possible.
Bio: Benn Stancil is a cofounder and Chief Analyst at Mode, a company building collaborative tools for analysts. Benn is responsible for overseeing Mode's internal analytics efforts. Benn is also an active contributor to the data science community, frequently helping data science teams build their technology stacks and establish data-driven cultures within their companies. In addition, Benn provides strategic oversight and guidance to Mode's product direction as a member of the product leadership team.
Prior to Mode, Benn was a senior analyst at Microsoft and Yammer, where he helped lead product analytics. Benn also worked as an economic analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think tank in Washington, DC.
Chief Analyst | Mode Analytics
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