The cycles that accompany advances in computing are fairly predictable. Technology starts off in a lab setting understood by only a brilliant few, then moves down to an informed and passionate early-adopter community, finally making its way to the mainstream once the kinks have been worked out and the interface refined for those without computer science degrees.
We’re witnessing that latter transfer right now in the field of data analysis. That may be old news to many tech companies but it’s starting to have its breakthrough moment outside of Silicon Valley.
Data scientists such as Peter Lee of Microsoft and entrepreneurs such as Ann Johnson of Interana are bringing advanced data science to people and companies who can’t afford to invest in their own data science efforts through a series of APIs and other services that democratize access to data research tools.
Just like public infrastructure cloud services allowed hundreds of startups to grow and thrive without having to invest in building their own infrastructure, easier access to cutting-edge data science could improve a wide range of products and services across many industries that aren’t blessed with data science brilliance.
This is just one of the topics we plan to explore at Structure Data, scheduled for March 9th and 10th at the UCSF Mission Bay conference center in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood. Over the years, Structure Data has tried to showcase and warn of the coming importance of data analysis in making business decisions, and that certainly won’t change this year. But what is changing this year is the realization that machine learning and artificial intelligence are getting sophisticated enough to be used by regular folks (within the software development and marketing worlds, anyway).
Data is a wonderful and tricky thing. Assuming you’re measuring correctly, harnessing data within an organization can unlock benefits you would have never discovered otherwise with older analysis tools. There’s a reason why companies like Google, Microsoft, Baidu, and others are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into artificial intelligence research and development: they’ve already learned the power of data in the development of their products and services, and the companies that get out in front of the next wave of innovation in the data world will have an advantage.
However, seizing control of your corporate data is not easy for companies that have traditionally depended on more basic forms of data analysis.;