30 May 2017Blog

Data-driven culture, phase 4: Get the necessary expertise

What kind of expertise is needed to build a data-driven culture? This article explains what type of team you need to introduce a data-driven culture in your organisation. Use these descriptions to identify the right type of people and any additional competences your organisation needs.

This is the fourth in a series of six articles about the road to a data-driven organisation. The previous articles were about identifying the current state of analytics in an organisation, considering new development opportunities and prioritising potential opportunities. Now is the time to focus on the key players needed for achieving actual goals and on their roles.

Here is a tried-and-tested list of roles and capabilities needed in all projects to develop agile data services:

Business SME

Role: Expert in the business to be developed. Helps the team that is building a data-driven culture understand the opportunity and ensures that the related business effects are realised.

Expertise: A basic understanding of software development and analytics. Knows how to develop business based on an understanding of data and how to convert this understanding into action.

Data Consultant

Role: The eyes and ears of the development team. Their most important task is to enable the team to carry out meaningful work efficiently. They listen to business experts and help them make use of the opportunities that data offers, and they keep the service implementation team on track towards the common vision. When others are not delivering or there are problems with communication, the data consultant knows how to make things happen.

Expertise: An ability to communicate with representatives of both technology and business. Change management and an understanding of data projects and their effects on the organisation’s business.

Data Architect

Role: A competent data architect knows how to convert business opportunities into technical plans. When designed correctly, data services support business, are efficient and easy to use for the developers and end users, and are scalable according to demand.

Expertise: An in-depth understanding of data, databases, data communication, information security and the opportunities and challenges related to software development. Cloud technologies.

Data Engineer

Role: An all-round expert in data projects. An experienced data engineer creates the technical infrastructure necessary for providing data to everyone who needs it. They enable data to be used programmatically and through effective reporting solutions.

Expertise: Programming skills, database modelling and development, BI tools, an understanding of data transmission and information security, infrastructure automation tools, cloud technologies.

Data Scientist

Role: A data wizard who can find a needle in a data haystack. They identify data that is relevant for business and build a modelling process to create appropriate algorithms using statistical methods and raw computing power.

Expertise: An in-depth understanding of statistics and its application tools and an ability to grasp the nature of the business to be developed and understand its regularities in terms of data.  An understanding of the use of parallel calculation tools and a basic understanding of programming.

Service Designer

Role: Turns a technically working solution into a wonderful user experience. They are an empathetic advocate of the end users’ needs. They innovate, develop and design a beautiful, easy-to-understand set of services.

Expertise: An ability to listen and communicate. An eye for visual detail. Expertise in creating test models, designing user interfaces and managing change.

IT Architect

Role: Ensuring that the solution to be implemented in a project is in line with whole organisation’s IT environment requires technical support from an expert in the organisation’s current IT architecture. The IT architect helps the team choose technologies that fit the surrounding IT environment and forewarns the team of any challenges.

Expertise: Data transmission and information security. An extensive understanding of different technologies, software development processes and existing IT environments.

Open position

Role: Other expertise may also be needed according to the business problem to be solved. The implementation team may need kinds of expertise falling anywhere between communications and advanced software development.

Olli Lindroos works for Solita’s Agile Data team. He is a passionate student and proponent of data-driven culture, with an interest in technology in all of its forms, whether it’s about the user experience, technical implementation or business strategy opportunities. Olli describes himself as a dad and a nerd, as well as a food and drink aficionado. In his free time, Olli likes to try out all the newest trends as a consumer and building the IoT equipment he needs by himself.