Data Science for Business

What business leaders need to know about data and data analysis to drive their businesses forward.

A couple of years ago, Claudia Perlich introduced me to Foster Provost, her PhD adviser. Foster showed me the book he was writing with Tom Fawcett, and using in his teaching at NYU.

DataScienceForBusinessCoverFoster and Tom have a long history of applying data to practical business problems. Their book, which evolved into Data Science for Business, was different from all the other data science books I’ve seen. It wasn’t about tools: Hadoop and R are scarcely mentioned, if at all. It wasn’t about coding: business students don’t need to learn how to implement machine learning algorithms in Python. It is about business: specifically, it’s about the data analytic thinking that business people need to work with data effectively.

Data analytic thinking means knowing what questions to ask, how to ask those questions, and whether the answers you get make sense. Business leaders don’t (and shouldn’t) do the data analysis themselves. But in this data-driven age, it’s critically important for business leaders to understand how to work with the data scientists on their teams. In today’s business world, it’s essential to understand which algorithms are used for different applications, how statistics are used to create models of human and economic behavior, overfitting and its symptoms, and much more. You might not need to know how to implement a machine learning algorithm, but you do need to understand the ideas the data scientists on your team are using.

The goal of data science is putting data to work. That’s what Data Science for Business is all about, and the reason I’m excited to see us publishing it. There are many books about data science, and an increasing number of undergraduate and graduate programs in data science. But I haven’t seen anything that teaches data science for the leaders who will be using data to drive their businesses forward.

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On working with Oracle, writing, and the latest edition of Oracle Essentials

An interview with Robert Stackowiak, co-author of Oracle Essentials 5th Edition

Robert Stackowiak

Robert Stackowiak

Robert Stackowiak and Rick Greenwald are super busy. They both handle a lot of responsibilities in their “day” jobs at Oracle. They also managed to squeeze in enough time to complete the latest update to their book, Oracle Essentials. It is currently available here as an early release. Both Robert and Rick took some time out to answer a few questions about the book, how they started working with Oracle, and writing. I’ve focused on Robert for this post but stay tuned for a later post that provides some behind the scenes insight from Rick Greenwald.

How did you get started working with Oracle technologies? How long have you been working with them?

Robert Stackowiak: I started working with the Oracle Database while at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in St. Paul in about 1984. The St. Paul District was one of the first Corps Districts to use the Oracle Database to write applications.

What is your day-to-day job with data entail?

Robert Stackowiak: I help guide Oracle’s sales and architecture teams and Oracle’s customers in defining and building information architectures. This includes all aspects including databases, Big Data solutions, business intelligence and data discovery tools, and integration tools and strategies.

Read more…

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