The other day I had a great conversation about big data and retail. But in the conversation things went to Wall Street and big data. Being as this person I was talking with has worked in the NYC financial services industry, he knew a thing or two about why things went south.
I always assumed that the people on Wall Street probably hired a lot of math PHd to write these great algorithms and that they probably hired more than just math or computer science majors. Turns out, probably not. Also, I would have hoped they do like I do and at the very least, learn the technology, yeah, that didn’t seem to have happened either.
What ended up happening is, the developers were left to do their own thing with little oversight or understanding by the business side and then things went south. When it comes to big data and predictive analytics, for it to work right and be of the most benefit for the customer base and the business, you need to have the business engaged in the process to the level of really understanding what is going on. I don’t expect the business to get in there and start coding, but the business side should know what the tools are and what are the real capabilities of those tools and if the tools are the best for the job. The business needs to deliver on this and not leave it to IT.
If the business leaves these kinds of decisions to IT then the business owner of the product or project will one day wake up and realize, they have something other than what they thought. They also won’t know how to use the tools anymore and that’s where real problems arise. I myself do my best to learn what my team is using for tools. Now I don’t know how to work varnish, but I know what it does, same with flume. I know what it can do and what it can’t do, so when I work on my next iteration of the product strategy, I know what I really can do and where the gaps are. It is what allows me to deliver faster than other teams and to deliver a more accurate solution to the customer or business problem I am solving.