Big data? Big deal. The problem for data geeks like us is that we are interested in the data itself. But for the rest of the world, it’s not data they want – it is answers to important questions. How can I sell more of my products? What will influence buyer behaviour? Or if you are working in public policy: what public services do citizens need? How can we improve the efficiency of this hospital?
Data in itself doesn’t provide answers. For that we need analysis. And that’s where we, at the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), come in. Our strapline is Data | Evidence | Decisions. We’re interested in converting the raw data into something that is useful ultimately to making a decision.
Our research with the innovation thinktank Nesta shows there is a data skills shortage which means companies can struggle to get the talent they need to get the data to speak. At the RSS we are helping with this by our training programme to improve the analytical capability of data scientists. We also run over 100 events a year bringing together our extensive networks to help exchange the latest thinking in the analysis of data. Our bi-monthly magazine Significance is also all about analysing data to understand the issues.
At the RSS we’ve been campaigning to let government know the value of data. Our Data Manifesto tells government to put data at the heart of what it does. We’ve been running statistical training for our MPs so that they are also more data literate.
Anyone who cares about data can join the RSS. We are a data community of over 6,000. If you want to improve your analytical skills we might be a good professional network for you. If you want to find out more, we’ll be exhibiting at the Big Data Week London conference – come to our exhibition stand and have a chat.
Article written by Hetan Shah
Executive Director, Royal Statistical Society