Research

A Decade of IIA

By Thomas H. Davenport, Jack Phillips, Jan 08, 2020

Available to Research & Advisory Network Clients Only

We co-founded the International Institute for Analytics in 2010. Since it’s now 2020, our sophisticated math skills tell us that IIA has been around for about a decade—although our first full year of operation was in 2011. We thought it might be interesting to reflect on the state of the field that IIA addresses and how it has changed over time.

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The Fuzzy Line Between Good and Evil Data Science

By Bill Franks, Sep 12, 2019

Available to Research & Advisory Network Clients Only

The vast majority of people building analytics and data science processes have every intention of being good and ethical. As a result, most potentially unethical and evil processes arise in situations where that wasn’t the intention. The problem is typically that proper focus and governance is not in place to keep analytics and data science processes on the side of good. On top of that, what is good and what is evil isn’t nearly as clear cut as we’d wish it to be.

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We’ve had technical people focused on the ingestion and management of data for decades. But, only recently has data engineering become a critical, widespread role. Why is that? This post will outline a somewhat contrarian view as to why data engineering has become a critical function and how we might expect the role to evolve over time.

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Lately I’ve had a lot of conversations with clients about the intersection of ethics and analytics. I’ve also been presenting on the topic at a number of conferences. The interest in ethics has exploded recently, driven in large part by the rise of artificial intelligence. One common question I get is what my top tip would be for a company to get started in becoming a leader in analytical ethics. I’ll discuss my answer in this post: intentionality.

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While there are many advantages to the cloud, it is also necessary to use caution to make sure that the risks of the cloud are mitigated while pursuing the advantages.

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Any new tool or technology has the potential to be put to use for good purposes or, unfortunately, for harmful purposes. Artificial intelligence is no different. As we see the rapid progress occurring in the AI space, lots of attention has been paid to all of the good uses of AI. However, it is inevitable that those with nefarious intent are also studying AI successes with an eye toward how to twist them into tools to pursue their less than honorable goals.

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I work with many clients who are trying to effectively adopt advanced analytics – data mining, predictive analytics, data science. One of the biggest problems these clients face is to how to get everyone – business, IT and data science professionals alike – on the same page.

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Like many other Americans who went to bed on election night prematurely, I learned about Donald Trump’s stunning victory in the U.S. presidential election on my phone early in the morning. The result was unambiguous but shocking and hard to process, especially at 5 a.m. But also like many other Americans, my shock wasn’t driven by a lack of awareness of Americans’ prevailing anti-establishment mindset and desire for change that tilted the vote (I’ve resided in three of the four key Midwestern states that “flipped”), but by the disconnect between the final result and the longstanding, data-driven expectation we had overly trusted.

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There is widespread agreement that the Internet of Things will be a transformative factor in the business use of information. The prospect of billions of connected devices promises to transform home activities, transportation, industrial operations, and many other aspects of our lives. The bad news about the IoT is that we have a lot of work to do before we are ready for it.

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I recently had someone ask me, “For years we’ve talked about changing analytics from 80% data prep and 20% analytics to 20% data prep and 80% analytics, yet we still seem stuck with 80% data prep. Why is that?” It is a very good question about a very real issue that causes many people frustration.

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