Everywhere you turn these days there are headlines about the rise of big data and how predictive analytics will usher in a new era of corporate innovation, one that upends the norms for how companies interact with their customers. According to Bloomberg News, data scientists are in such high demand that they’re commanding salaries upwards of $200,000. The article quotes a McKinsey study projecting that “by 2018, the U.S. alone may face a 50 percent to 60 percent gap between supply and requisite demand of deep analytic talent.”
But despite all the hype over predictive analytics, we’re still very much in an environment “where data science cowboys operate in a wild west of innovation and deployment,” at least according to Michael Goul. Goul is an association dean for research and professor of information systems at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, and he’s spent the last few decades studying artificial intelligence and business analytics. While he agrees that data science has the potential to revolutionize commerce, he also thinks too many companies are rushing headlong into the field without putting proper governance systems in place, and in some cases this might lead to disaster.
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