Building Your Data Science Organization to Deliver Maximum Value

Complex data science doesn’t necessarily mean better science, but maximizing the value pulled from data can.

Pro Tip: Data continues to become the currency for success in the retail industry, and organizations must invest in data science to optimize performance and create long-term strategies for growth.

The journey to data science transformation looks different for every organization. Regardless of your business structure and cultural readiness to leverage data, building a data science organization that is productive and delivers ROI is possible.

Through our work at 84.51°, we’ve partnered with businesses at all levels of cultural and technical maturity and found the key is to start small and start simple on the journey to harnessing data science to its maximum potential.

Start small: Focus on Data-Ready Business Areas

You may want to push your data science organization to impact many business areas as quickly as possible. But to create and scale value sustainably, start small with a narrow focus that will ultimately scale. Identify areas of the business that can benefit from data-driven strategies and where key questions are ready to be answered.

Spacee launches HoverTouch Wall
Spacee launched HoverTouch Wall, an interactive way for retailers to engage with customers in-store and lift sales.

Take time to frame questions properly and consider what decisions — and decision-makers — are behind the analysis and commit to acting on those results. Scope the work to orient on the right data points to drive clarity in those decisions, and plan how ROI will be measured.

When identifying the right questions to start with, focus on those that can yield measurable results quickly, rather than complex business problems that would take much longer to solve and see results.

To get started, consider questions like these that are simple, data-oriented and can be measured in market quickly:

  • What is the optimal pricing strategy for my product/brand?
  • What promotional strategies are the most effective at driving engagement in my brand?
  • How do I optimize the shelf to drive engagement in my brand and the category?

Start Simple: Invest in Science That Delivers Quality Over Complexity

As you’re starting small, it’s also important to focus on simple approaches to answering the questions you’ve identified. It's easy to get caught up in the sophistication that data science can offer — like the appeal of A.I. — but complex science doesn’t necessarily mean better science. Your organization can drive tremendous results by orienting around simple, scalable solutions that maximize the value you can pull from the data.

A straightforward, quality data source will allow your team to answer critical questions with confidence. The resulting insights into how customers are truly behaving with your brands and products will evolve organizational thinking over time. As new insights are adopted and confidence continues to grow, complexity can be added to provide additional precision and answer new questions.

Building Momentum on the Journey

As you start small and simple, create cross-functional teams to align data scientists to the business partners they are supporting. This will help ensure they have the context they need to deliver the right information and support the decisions needed by the business.

Once quick wins and ROI have been proven in small pockets, build on that momentum. Your wins will drive advocacy for the value of data science and the measurable impact it can have.  You can also scale the value of these small case studies by applying the methods and learnings to different areas of your business.

As demand and impact grows, it will be important to further your organization by enabling your data science teams. Consider the right governance and standards to support the work. Build community around teams so best practices are shared and innovations are scaled to deliver sustainable ROI across the business.

Emily Gibbons
Emily Gibbons

Emily Gibbons is vice president, data science for 84.51° insights business, and leads the data science teams supporting 84.51°’s commercial delivery to clients, including Custom Insights, 84.51° Stratum and 84.51° Collaborative Cloud. She helps drive continuous innovation of the science in 84.51°’s portfolio to ensure its solutions are market leading, actionable and valuable to its clients.