Analytics or Your Gut?

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Analytics vs Gutby Jelani Harper

Steven Hillion recently wrote on TechCrunch: “Data is more varied and fast-moving than ever, and analyzing it effectively now requires highly sophisticated software and machinery. But where does big data analytics leave the good-old-fashioned hunch? What if the data tells a business manager to “jump” but her intuition says “stay”? It might sound surprising coming from me – I’m a math and technology guy after all – but I strongly believe that intuition steeped in both data and business savvy must steer analytics in order to generate real value. There’s an attitude that says you just have to apply enough math and machine power to a dataset to achieve the best models. But it’s foolish to assume that number-crunching alone can provide answers a business needs to get ahead. In data science, intuition and analytics work together in tandem, each informing the other.”

The article continues with, “First, intuition guides analytics. Analytics insights rarely appear out of thin air. They’re the result of the application of numerical methods to test hypotheses and ideas that arise from intuition and observation. And intuition also guides the methods that the researcher uses to test these hypotheses. Which data is relevant? Which variables and transformations make sense? What are the likely relationships between cause and effect? Which models are appropriate? Second, analytics informs intuition. Unsupervised modeling techniques can discern relationships and patterns in the data that wouldn’t be obvious from a superficial view or a human-sized sample of the data.”

Read more here.

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