“Ask twelve people what Data Science is, and you’ll get thirteen different definitions.” Big Data and Data Science have become buzzwords that many maritime professionals like to discuss, but few know how to effectively integrate in their organizations. How do you capitalize on the possibilities a data-driven approach can create for your business? This month, we spoke to some experienced Data Scientists to discover where the strength of data lies for the maritime industry.
“The Venturn Data Science Programme came into existence around the time of our fifteen-year-anniversary,” Patrick van de Ven, Venturn’s Founding Partner explains. “Big Data was very prominent in the news, it was being talked about a lot, but very little was actually being done with it.” Clients indicated that they had ambitions to work with Data Science, but were struggling to find trained professionals, partly due to the high cost of Data Scientists. Retaining these data experts seemed to be an even bigger problem. “So we started thinking: what can we do for people that are already in the business? Can’t we help them make the transition into Data Scientists?”
This initial idea then started taking shape. “We currently work with some great partners that are experts in their field. CQM is one example; they’ve been active in the field of Data Science since before the media had even heard of it. Jeroen Janssens (founder of Data Science Workshops and author of Data Science at the Command Line) is another excellent and knowledgeable person we’re collaborating with. We facilitate these parties so they can share their knowledge and insights with the participants.”
Putting data science into practice
One of the most important elements of data science solutions that people often miss, is bridging the gap between management or operations and the actual Data Science taking place. Maybe you’ve experienced it yourself: you’ve tried to hire an external party to work with your data, only to find out they don’t understand what you want and you don’t understand what they’re doing.
“People are the center of data science,” Marnix Zoutenbier of CQM reminds us. “Of course a solid background in the technical side of Data Science is important, but soft skills and the ability to connect with real-life questions that businesses face is just as essential. This reality is constantly changing, so as a data scientist you need to adapt.” CQM has almost forty years of experience with data science related consultancy. They stress the importance of relevance of Data Science for an organization’s goals and priorities. “Too many times you see a business collecting a lot of data and then asking the question ‘What can we do with all of this?’. But that’s the wrong way around: you need to define what you want to achieve first, and then discuss how Data Science can fit into that bigger picture.”
Jeroen Janssens underlines the importance of decreasing the gap between decision making and implementation of Data Science. “Even if you’re not the one programming yourself, it’s important that you’re able to understand the methods being used. This way, you can effectively communicate with both sides.” Creating good visualizations and making data manageable is a huge part of Data Science, but in order do to that, you need to understand what exactly people want to know about all that data.
The future of data
It may seem like Data Science is for large organisations that have the capital to invest in such technologies, but effective data analysis can transform your business no matter the size. Patrick elaborates: “What we really see is that some of the bigger players in the harbour are only now starting to implement data solutions. Larger businesses don’t want to rush into things like Data Science. They want to know what the possibilities are, what kind of results it yields before they turn the enterprise upside down. Because of this hesitation, the real pioneers are often the smaller companies.”
The VDS Programme helps your business stay up to date and offers opportunities for your employees to develop their skills. As Data Science will only grow more prominent, the programme allows your business and staff to stay on the map and implement modern technologies.
The programme is essentially tailored to fit whatever needs you have as a representative of your company. Jeroen Janssens, who is one of the trainers involved with the programme, explains: “It’s all about bringing your own data and learning what you need to know to use data science in a way that’s relevant for you.”
VDS in the Boardroom
The current iteration of the VDS Programme has already kicked off, but that’s no reason to put data science on hold. Venturn also offers the VDS in the Boardroom Masterclass in collaboration with the Business School of the University of Groningen. During this two-day event, taking place on the 15th and 16th of March in Rotterdam, even more experts in the field will share their knowledge and experiences with you so you can unravel the mysteries of data science. Interested? You can find the brochure here or contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.