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January: Best of the Web

Here is a roundup of interesting sites, resources and articles from around the web, curated by IIA. January’s edition includes great articles on how McDonalds, Walmart, GE Aviation and Netflix leverage analytics to drive business value. It also features interesting articles on data strategy ROI, AI technology classification, data science competencies, master data management and AI ethics. Follow us on Twitter (@iianalytics) and LinkedIn to receive daily updates on IIA content and curated content as it becomes available.

Featured Article from Analytics Leadership Consortium Newsletter

Each month, IIA’s Analytics Leadership Consortium (ALC) publishes a newsletter featuring reviews of timely and relevant 3rd party articles. Here is one of the articles highlighted in a previous newsletter.

How Organizations Can Build Analytics Agility

IIA’s article summary: COVID-19 has caused unimaginable disruption, but some organizations have weathered the storm better than others. When it comes to managing data and analytics activities, how can leaders develop greater analytics agility? MIT Sloan notes there are three key areas an organization must focus on: “improving the quality and connections of the data itself, augmenting analytical ‘horsepower’ at the organization level, and leveraging talent that is capable of bridging business needs with analytics to find opportunity in the data.” Read the full article here.

  • IIA Recommends:

  • COVID-19 exposed a number of issues related to data gaps making work for analytics leaders even more difficult this past year; conduct an audit of your data investments and determine where you may need to bolster your foundational data so that you are better prepared for unusual events and able to pivot and meet new demands.

  • Encourage continuous, ongoing collaboration across your team and include all stakeholders; identify ways to discuss and share learnings whether it’s utilizing dashboards or scheduling a forum, it’s important to stay informed and connected with one another.

  • Now is the time to document successes and failures from COVID-19; it’s important to evaluate what worked well and can be implemented long term or what can be abandoned. Having a game plan for a future Black Swan event will ensure your team is better prepared to handle disruption.

Featured Articles on Analytics Strategy

The New Patterns of Innovation (Harvard Business Review)

This classic article from 2014 is still very relevant. It outlines an approach for evaluating data and analytics opportunities and five business patterns for using analytics to improve business outcomes. Good thinking for prioritizing analytics opportunities in 2021.

Leading With Decision-Driven Data Analytics (MIT Sloan Management Review)

Companies have more data than ever, but many executives say their data analytics initiatives do not provide actionable insights and produce disappointing results overall. This article proposes decision-driven data analytics as an approach for improving results.

The ROI of a Modern Data Strategy (Future Vision / Medium)

Great overview on how to calculate data strategy ROI covering three areas: 1.) The ROIs of all of the projects in your data strategy roadmap, 2.) The additional “speed to value” that the strategy helps you bring to future projects, and 3.) The additional value, enabled by the data strategy, to your company’s overall business strategy.

Master Data Management: an Essential Part of Data Strategy (Towards Data Science)

This article outlines four steps form implementing master data management: 1.) Establish data governance embraced by the entire organization, 2.) Apply MDM to new data additions or new applications, 3.) Select the right MDM software and 4.) Leverage the MDM capability to manage existing and legacy systems.

How to Quantify Data Quality? (Toward Data Science)

This article provides an overview of the model used to calculate data quality scores in IBM's Cloud Pak for Data and Information Server / Information Analyzer.

7 Ways HR Can Build a Fairer, Data-Informed Culture (Harvard Busines Review)

Seven ways leaders can drive data-informed HR decisions: 1.) Develop organization-wide definitions of fairness, 2.) Promote fairness with a strong business case, 3.) Embrace technology while accepting its limits, 4.) Conduct fairness audits, 5.) Find the underlying cause of your problem, 6.) Make diverse, cross-group collaboration a must and 7.) Keep the H in HR.

Featured Articles on Analytics Talent

Timeline for Data Science Competence (Towards Artificial Intelligence)

This article provides a three-level framework for data science skills and timelines for becoming competent at each level.

Setting Up Data Science Activities in Your Company — Guide for Managers (Medium)

A good, non-technical overview of key areas managers should consider when setting up analytics and data science activities.

Featured Articles on Data and Analytics Technology

AI Knowledge Map: How to Classify AI technologies (Medium)

This article provides a great overview and framework for classifying AI technologies. The framework matrix classifies technologies by AI Problem Domains (Perception, Reasoning, Knowledge, Planning and Communication) and AI Paradigms (Symbolic, Statistical and Subsymbolic).

How to Improve Your Data Science Team’s Efficiency (Better Programming / Medium)

This article provide a good overview of tools and best practices that can help improve the effectiveness of your data science team.

Featured Articles with Analytics Uses and Case Studies

The Future of McDonald's Is in the Drive-Thru Lane (Wired)

An interesting article on how COVID19 is driving a fundamental rethinking of how fast food works at McDonald's, starting with the drive thru.

Data Science Productization Drives Business Value (Informs)

Bill Groves and Srujana Kaddevarmutha provide an overview of how Walmart leverages architectural design and data governance to overcome common challenges in productizing analytics.

Empowering a Data Culture From the Inside Out (MIT Sloan Management Review)

Good insights from GE Aviation's Jonathan Tudor on empowering users beyond the data engineering and analytics teams, encouraging buy-in from across the organization and creating cross-functional partnerships.

Analytics at Netflix: Who We Are and What We Do (Netflix Blog)

Netflix has one of the highest analytics maturity scores IIA has measured. This blog outlines their approach to analytics and visualization.

DeepMind’s Latest AI Breakthrough Could Turbocharge Drug Discovery (Fast Company)

Creating new drugs is notoriously slow and expensive. Alphabet's AlphaFold AI has the ability to understand proteins and help researchers move much faster.

Recreating the Game: Using Player Tracking Data to Analyze Dynamics in Basketball and Football (Harvard Data Science Review)

Interesting article from the Harvard Data Science Review about using player tracking data to analyze dynamics in basketball and football.

Featured Articles on AI

The Turing Test is Obsolete. It’s Time to Build a New Barometer for AI (Fast Company)

The head scientist for Amazon’s Alexa thinks the old benchmark for computing is no longer relevant for today’s AI era.

AI Algorithms Are Slimming Down to Fit in Your Fridge (Wired)

An overview of research to generate computer vision from a simple, low-power chip.

How to Create Space for Ethics in AI (VentureBeat)

This article outlines the challenges of implementing ethical AI in major corporations.

Featured Resources and Blog Sites

Netflix Technology Blog

The Netflix Technology Blog provides insights on how the company designs, builds, and operates its systems and engineering organizations

Jesse Anderson Blog

IIA expert Jesse Anderson's blog provides great insights on data engineering.

CB Insights Unicorn List

As of December 2020, there are more than 500 unicorns (startups with $1B+ valuation) around the world. Many of these companies leverage analytics, AI and ML to create product and market disruption.

Featured News and Information Sites

Harvard Data Science Review

The Harvard Data Science Review aims to define and shape data science as a scientifically rigorous and globally impactful multidisciplinary field based on the principled and purposed production, processing, parsing and analysis of data.

IoT World Today

IoT World Today provides the latest news and analysis, and case studies about technologies used in the Internet of Things, such as infrastructure, security, analytics and development tools.

About IIA

IIA is the industry’s leading source of insights and advisory services for companies transitioning to data-driven decision-making and advanced analytics. IIA continuously seeks out insights, information and experts to elevate our client’s and our community’s analytics expertise through two service lines. IIA's Research and Advisory Network (RAN) provides clients with access to the world's largest analytics-focused expert network; a resource designed to accelerate analytics teams' progress against their projects and initiatives. IIA’s Analytics Leadership Consortium is a closed network of analytics executives from diverse industries who meet to share and discuss best practices, as well as discover and develop analytics innovation, all for the purpose of improving the business impact of analytics at their firms.