Using Decisions In Framing Analytics Problems: A Consulting Perspective

Friday, May 8, 2015 - 1:15 pm

In data science applications, a key determinant of success is how the analytical problem is framed, even before any data sources or algorithms are selected.  This talk discusses a framework helpful where the goal of analytics is to help organizations use data to make better decisions. Application of the framework begins by asking three key questions related to decision-making, and uses the answers to these questions to guide selection of data sources, algorithms, data visualizations as well as how the organization will use the analytic results:

  1. What is the decision being improved by the use of analytics?
  2. Who is deciding?
  3. What is the value of an improved decision?

We’ve found that often analytics project sponsors cannot articulate the answers to these questions, at least at the outset of the project, and that a critical role for us as consultants is to help clients refine the answers, thereby better understanding the problems they are trying to solve refine the answers. Sometimes answering these questions yield results that may be surprising to data scientists, such as that the most technically accurate model may not be the best for a given project or that adding big data to a project may be counterproductive. This talk expands on these questions and illustrates with examples taken from consulting practice.  (Note: Some of this talk previews concepts to be covered in the course INFO 290: Managing Analytics Projects, to be taught at the iSchool in the fall of 2015.) 

Using Decisions In Framing Analytics Problems: A Consulting Perspective - DataEDGE 2015

Director, Advanced Analytics and Modeling
Deloitte Consulting LLP

David Steier is a Director in Deloitte Analytics for Deloitte Consulting LLP’s U.S. Human Capital Practice and is Deloitte’s Technology Black Belt for Unstructured Analytics. Using advanced analytic and visualization techniques, including predictive modeling, social network analysis, and text mining, David and his team of quantitative specialists help clients across a variety of industries to solve some of their most complex technical problems.

Prior to joining Deloitte, David was Director of Research at the Center for Advanced Research at PwC, and was a Managing Director at Scient, an e-business services consultancy. David has also authored numerous publications and presentations in applications of advanced technology, including two books and a variety of journal papers, conference papers and workshop presentations. David received his PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, where he is currently an adjunct faculty member teaching a course on Managing Analytics Projects.