When it comes to data science and big data, much of the conversation has focused on enterprise-scale businesses. Dana Bullister and her team at LogicNow may change that. Indeed, LogicNow this week launched LogicCards -- a big data system that helps managed services providers (MSPs) to more effectively predict IT needs within small businesses and midmarket customers.

Seeking more insights on the strategy, Information Management caught up with Bullister during MAX 2015 -- LogicNow's partner and customer conference in Washington, D.C. Here's a sampling of the conversation.

Information Management: A lot of people claim to be "data scientists" these days. In your mind, what exactly does it mean to be a data scientist?

Bullister: Well, data scientist is a fairly new term - it's come into general use only within the last decade. Thus, companies and people are still in the process of coming to agreement on exactly what it does - or should - mean. But generally I think when people talk of data scientists they refer to those who leverage data in new, innovative ways in order to extract value - often to help in optimizing processes, identifying opportunities, scoping out risk, or simply finding insight.

Information Management: What attracted you to LogicNow? And how was the data science team formed?

Bullister: I was drawn to LogicNow by the opportunity to work in a small, rock-solid team on interesting data projects. Looking back I couldn't have made a better decision. The data science team was formed about two years ago by the VP of the Data Lab/my boss, Colin Britton, who recruited me and my colleagues and built the group from a mere concept into the operation it is today.

Information Management: Much of the big data conversation has been limited to cloud companies (Amazon Machine Learning, etc.), web scale companies (Facebook) and enterprise-centric conversations. Do you see the big data and machine learning conversation extending down into small business? How?

Bullister: You are correct; data science operations generally exist within only large-scale companies that have the necessary resources for investment. They are typically out of reach for small to medium-sized businesses. With LogicCards, however, we are enabling even small and medium-sized MSPs to directly benefit from the scale, analytics, and data science resources of a substantially larger scale organization. Our goal is to democratize the incredible value provided by this data, effectively adding a full-time data science team to every one of our customers' organizations.

Information Management: LogicNow just announced LogicCards -- dashboards that give MSPs key insights. How long were the first LogicCards under development — and what capabilities do they offer?

Bullister: Factoring in necessary efforts in data infrastructure, LogicCards have been in development for about 18 months. The feature offers real-time intelligence informed by the analysis of billions of events across millions of SMB devices, 170,000 networks, and tens of thousands of technicians around the globe. Users benefit from insights, personalization, and quality control governed by machine learning algorithms. And they benefit from predictive and prescriptive analytics enabling them to identify threats, recognize opportunity, optimize their businesses, and proactively address items to a qualitatively different standard of effectiveness than ever before.

Information Management regularly interviews data scientists to track key trends in big data, analytics, machine learning, informed insights and more. Contact Information Management Editor Joe Panettieri to discuss potential interview opportunities.