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A strained Data Science analogy

In the sponsored article Data Science: Buyer Beware at Forbes, SAP's Ray Rivera takes a dim view of Data Science. According to Rivera, Data Science is a "management fad" in the mold of Business Process Reengineering, and casts data scentists as self-ordained "gurus" whose mission is to stand between the "ignorant masses" that need access to data and a company's valuable data stores. He likens data scientists to the icemen of the olden days, keen to provide a handcrafted service instead of the newfangled automated solution:  I don’t want no icemanI’m gonna get me a Frigidaire …I don’t want nobodyWho’s always hangin’ around. If you've been following my writings about data science on this blog or in my webinar on the Rise of Data Science, you'll know I find this viewpoint to be total bunk. (So does Melinda Thielbar, who offers an excellent critique of Rivera's post from the perspective of a practicing data scientist.) First, Data Science definitely isn't a management process, and it's certainly not a fad: statistical analysis, one of the three components of Data Science, has been used in companies for more than 100 years, and the advent of Big Data and all of its applications has only solidified its importance in recent years. Secondly, acting as a gatekeeper to data is the antithesis of Data Science: a data scientist's main focus should be on liberating data by creating data apps that provide on-demand access to data analysis, while implementing the unique expertise that data scientists provide.  There's much more I could say about this, but my thoughts are captured in detail in this podcast at the IBM Big Data Hub. In my conversation with David Pittman we also cover whether Data Science is "sexy" (note: there's no such thing as a calendar on the theme of "Guys and Gals of Data Science"), and how the R language is an ideal platform for creating data apps. You can listen to the podcast at the link below. IBM Big Data Hub: Rebuffing "Buyer Beware" Attitude on Data Science

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More Stories By David Smith

David Smith is Vice President of Marketing and Community at Revolution Analytics. He has a long history with the R and statistics communities. After graduating with a degree in Statistics from the University of Adelaide, South Australia, he spent four years researching statistical methodology at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, where he also developed a number of packages for the S-PLUS statistical modeling environment. He continued his association with S-PLUS at Insightful (now TIBCO Spotfire) overseeing the product management of S-PLUS and other statistical and data mining products.<

David smith is the co-author (with Bill Venables) of the popular tutorial manual, An Introduction to R, and one of the originating developers of the ESS: Emacs Speaks Statistics project. Today, he leads marketing for REvolution R, supports R communities worldwide, and is responsible for the Revolutions blog. Prior to joining Revolution Analytics, he served as vice president of product management at Zynchros, Inc. Follow him on twitter at @RevoDavid

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