By Cronan McNamara, taken from his Congregation submission.

Data is a byproduct of carrying out business or organisational operations and it is a great raw material. When used well it holds the key to unlocking value within organisations.

But, data is often locked away out of sight. It gets trapped in silos and with restricted visibility across the organisation, it often gets forgotten about. Often it is held under the control of data owners who are well intentioned, but sometimes with no understanding of its value to the greater organisation or any capacity or vision to extract value from it.

Data is often quoted as the new oil. This is because of its value as a natural resource and also, I believe, because of its need for further refining from its natural state in order to be utilised. It is a potential lubricant of business, a communication tool and an ingredient for understanding progress in everyday life.

The analogy falls short in one important sense, however, in that oil is a limited, shrinking resource while data is limitless and is actually exploding in volume. Also, it can be shared with others without the owner losing access to it.

We are at the early stages of the data revolution – we have discovered its presence, we are starting to understanding its value and we are uncovering new ways to extract value from it.

Similar to oil, there are data elite organisations, who really understand it and who are are starting to corral and control its flow inside walled gardens and along with that are starting to control large swathes of online business.

In areas as diverse as marketing, risk analysis, weather forecasting, fraud detection, food safety, nutrition and dietetics, data is being used to provide insights to businesses and consumers to help them to make better decisions.

We are literally drowning in data. We only scratching the surface with less than 4% of data that gets generated ever being analysed.

And although, in principle, anyone with an internet connection does have access to a vast amount of data, they often cannot make use of it and their uncoordinated efforts, without the right technology and expertise makes little impact.

This is the key point: having data is fairly meaningless until it analysed and exploited.

For the average person or organisation to take advantage of this opportunity, data needs to be liberated. It needs to be democratised so that anyone (and everyone) can extract value from it.

To do this – to truly democratise data access, we have some tricky challenges ahead of us, some of which are:

  • There is so much data available in organisations, but this is often trapped in silos and in legacy systems with no means of extracting the data for combinations and analytics.
  • There is great expertise in data in organisations, but it takes a multidisciplinary team to do real data science and many organisations are missing crucial elements of this team.
  • There are data analytics software tools, but these are specialised and only useful to those with the right skills (programmers and data scientists).
  • The volume of data grows faster than we can analyse it and storage capacity is only keeping slightly ahead.
  • Data science requires a deep technical expertise (in maths, technology, data and statistics) which takes time to acquire and we are facing a real shortage of this expertise.
  • The data analytics workflow is broken. For example, emailing around Excel files – or storing them on a share drive – is risky. There is no traceability, no version control, no quality assurance. Who edited it last, what did they change?
  • Furthermore, the development process in data analytics is often ad-hoc with the best data scientists being self-taught coders. These experts often work on their own in R or SPSS and they do not use the types of formal development processes that have been long established and proven successful in the software industry (version control, reproducibility, documentation, quality assurance, etc…)
  • We need to govern data in an ethical framework and build trust between data owners and analysts in order to fulfill its potential.

Until we solve some of these challenges, there is a risk that data becomes monopolised by a few mega data companies. The result of this would be that many good businesses, that should be able to benefit from data, remain hamstrung and their growth stunted.

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At Creme Global, our vision, is a world where everyone can make better decisions based on real data and expert models. Our team is on a mission to democratise data analytics capability and make it accessible to organisations of all sizes and technical sophistication.

We have built a platform called Expert Models, which we believe is the key that enable organisation to unlock the value in their rich data sources.

This is a platform and community of experts who are ready to help organisations to get into the business of data science.

The Expert Models platform is designed to connect data sets (internal and external), analytics expertise, with decision makers in streamlined online platform. On this platform, with the help of experts – organisations can gather all of their valuable data sets into one place and can collaborate with data scientists to connect in external, third party data, create the required algorithms quickly and efficiently. By combining internal organisation data with external expertise and data – it can enable organisation to benchmark their performance and to improve.

We have removed the complexity of joining up the required elements, coding, data, people using a cloud based platform which allows creating and deploying analytics models on the cloud very quickly and easily.

We believe that no one person or data set holds all of the answers so a collaboration platform based on data analysis that brings together a community of data modellers, data owners and business will solve some really interesting and big problems.

ExpertModels – a platform to connect to data, collaborate, build and
deploy models on the cloud quickly and easily.

We are in the first wave of this democratising process and with some guidance, governance and collaboration we believe we can help solve some important business questions. If this is of interest to you, we would love to hear your thoughts.

For more information on Creme Global see: www.cremeglobal.com.

For more information on our Expert Models platform, see: www.expertmodels.com.

Or contact us on [email protected].

Or on Twitter at @cremeglobal or @expertmodels.


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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