A data scientist is someone who bridges the divide between the business world and the analytical realm. They are masters of spotting unique trends, patterns and relationships between large amounts of data from multiple sources specifically unstructured consumer information (i.e. Big Data). The goal of a data scientist is not to simply analyze data but also to find various insights and ways to apply those data findings to any pressing business problems or current process. Data scientists are in effect used to generate significant competitive advantage for their organizations. Most importantly, data scientists need to have the aptitude to communicate their analytical findings clearly to the leadership within their own organization.
An interesting example of how data scientists and by extension Big Data can help companies gain significant competitive advantage is Progressive Insurance’s “Snapshot”. Part of Progressive Insurances draw is its “Pay As You Drive program where drivers can lower their premiums by installing a device called a “snapshot” into their car. This device collects large volumes of unstructured internal data ( miles driven, number of hard brakes, speed fluctuation). Based on the analysis of data from these devices, Progressive offers lower premiums provided the continued use of the “Snapshot”. This has led to a massive migration of people switching to Progressive Insurance(let’s face it everyone thinks they’re a better driver than they really are). In response Allstate has started to research and test similar solutions recently.
Press, Gil. “Data Scientists: The Definition of Sexy.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 27 Sept. 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2013.