Tuesday Morning Plenary

First off, I want to congratulate the winner of the 2017 Franz Edelman Competition, Holiday Retirement, and all of the other prize winners that were announced at last night’s Edelman Gala. And a heart felt thank you to the judges that have the difficult job of evaluating all of the competitors – their job is not an easy one.

The Tuesday morning plenary session, given by Bill Groves of Honeywell, was focused on change within the analytics industry. He began by explicitly defining some terms that often have nebulous meanings, then described the driving forces behind change within the data analytics marketplace and finished by discussing the impact of this change on companies and data science. On the first topic – level set on the current state – he has observed the need for a common language within Honeywell for the roles and responsibilities so that they can hire the correct people for the right job. As such, they define data scientist tasks as those activities involved with the capturing and prepping data for analytics; data analytics as the classical descriptive, predictive and prescriptive tasks, and data engineers as the life blood of analytics that curate and secure the data. In this portion, he displayed to Gartner Hype cycle and placed data science close to the top of the peak, but was uncertain if it was still going up or beginning to come down.

In the second portion of his talk, Mr. Groves spoke about the driving factors of change: Ubiquitous data (every year more data is created than the history of man & only 1% is analyzed); customers now ready for widespread analytic capabilities with increased (slightly unreal) expectations; and increased power and reduced cost of technology. In the last portion of his talk focused on the impact to companies, he expressed the need for companies to focus on automation and retooling to meet these future needs. He asked those analytic leaders to help adapt to this change by not only embracing it but helping to push it along.