Tuesday, May 24, 2022

42% of Data Scientists Say Their Work Isn’t Used by Decision Makers

CARY, N.C. — A recent report shows that a number of data scientists are dissatisfied in their roles and facing barriers to doing effective work.

The report “Accelerating Digital Transformation” by the data analytics company SAS is intended to “delve deeper” into the state of data science, assess the impact of the pandemic, and satisfaction in the analytics field, according to the company last month.

While digital transformation has “accelerated significantly” due to the pandemic, the report describes the effects of extra demands on data scientists.

For instance, 42% of data scientists surveyed for the report said their data science results were not used by business decision makers.

The lack of project visibility occurred despite over 90% of respondents indicating the importance of their work was the same or greater compared to before the pandemic.

Other key findings from “Accelerating Digital Transformation”

Analytics

  • Over 66% of data scientists were satisfied with the outcomes from analytical projects
  • However, 42% of respondents were dissatisfied with their company’s use of analytics and model deployment

Skills gaps

  • Less than 33% of data scientists reported having advanced or expert proficiency in program-heavy skills, such as cloud management and database administration
  • However, 94% of respondents have experienced the same or greater use of the cloud since the pandemic

AI ethics

  • 43% of data scientists indicated their organization does not conduct specific reviews of its artificial intelligence (AI) analytical processes with respect to bias and discrimination
  • 26% of respondents reported that unfair bias is used as a measure of model success in their organization

Pandemic’s effect

The research shows the pandemic “upended standard business practices,” shifting assumptions and variables in models and predictive algorithms. The changes caused a “ripple effect” of adaptations in processes, practices, and operating parameters.

The report also suggests the “challenges” for data scientists were in existence before the pandemic:

  • 73% of data scientists said they are just as productive or more productive since the pandemic
  • 77% of respondents revealed they had the same or greater collaboration with colleagues

Data preparation

  • 58% of data scientists are spending more time than they would prefer gathering, exploring, managing and cleaning data

“There have clearly been more demands placed on data scientists as the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation projects that many organizations were planning anyway,” said Iain Brown, head of data science, SAS UK and Ireland.

“A major source of frustration is finding a way for organizations to implement the insights from analytics projects and use them in their decision making, which means giving data scientists a seat at the boardroom table might be a way forward.

“Linked to this, we found concerns around support for data science teams and a lack of talent, which has been an issue for some time, with demand outstripping supply.

“Overall, the data scientist has ample reason to feel empowered and optimistic about how the pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance of their role within their organization and how it migh evolve over time.”

The report “Accelerating Digital Transformation” can be downloaded at SAS’ website.

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