Key 2017 Developments in Data Science & Forecasts for 2018

Paul Gearan
December 2017

Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro, Data Science pioneer and KDnuggets Editor, invited the Rexer Analytics team and other leading global experts to provide their view of the main 2017 developments in Data Science, Machine Learning, and Predictive Analytics; and also to forecast the key trends that will emerge in 2018. These views and forecasts were published in the December 2017 issue of KDnuggets News.

Rexer Analytics provided this perspective:

The promise of ubiquitous and effective use of Business Intelligence software by those without research or analytic backgrounds still faces many hurdles. Inroads certainly have been made with software like Tableau, IBM's Watson, Microsoft Power BI and others. However, in data collected in 2017 by Rexer Analytics as part of our report on the practices of data science professionals, only a little over half of respondents indicated that self-service tools are being used by people outside of their data science teams. When these tools are being used, about 60% of the time challenges are reported, with the most common themes being failure to understand the analytic process and the misinterpretation of results.

For 2018, the goal of actualizing the promise of these "Citizen Data Science" tools to expand the use and power of analytics to produce valid and meaningful results is of paramount importance. As is often the case (in our experience), an integrated multi-disciplinary team approach still works best: it is important to provide non-analytically trained staff and executives with the tools to explore and visualize their hypotheses. But it is equally important for teams to develop models and interpret findings in concert with a data science professional who is trained to understand the applications and limitations of the specific analytic techniques.

Other experts providing perspectives were:  Tom Davenport (Babson College & MIT), Eric Siegel (Predictive Analytics World), Jeff Ullman (Stanford), Kirk Borne (BoozAllen), Jen Underwood (Impact Analytix), Ganapathi Pulipaka (DeepSingularity), Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro (KDnuggets), Bob Hayes (Business Over Broadway), Carla Gentry (Analytical Solution), and Jill Dyche (SAS Best Practice).

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