Your business has data.  You might have #BigData; you might have #SmallData.  You want that data to drive Insight. You want that data to drive Innovation. You want that data to <enter buzzword here>.

Basically, you want to use that data to do something.

Enter: the Data Scientist.

Although the job title of “Data Scientist” is relatively new, the individual components of the profession have been spread around different roles in businesses for many, many years.  But now that we find ourselves deluged in data,  there has been a greater focus on using this data to achieve business insight (whatever that means), and we’ve seen the rise of a single role tasked with doing everything from performing statistical analyses to assess business health to building Deep Neural Networks that predict whether a photo is of your sister or your mother.

Depending on the size of the organization, industry, and position within a business, data science teams (and in fact, individual data scientists) can take on quite different roles.  Here are the areas in which Data Scientists typically work:

Creating products & features

For businesses that build software products, data scientists often contribute very heavily in the ideation, design, and engineering of data-science-based products and features.  Often these features may be difficult to point out --- sometimes sophisticated mathematical models underlie the seemingly most simple products.  Hell, usually not-so-sophisticated data science algorithms are behind the scenes!  

Providing Business intelligence

Models to predict churn, optimize your supply chain, learn the best schedule to deliver marketing emails, forecast growth, pricing --- data science teams can contribute to using business data to make decisions and optimize how your business operates.  This is the traditional “business analytics” use of data science teams.

Performing industry analyses

Because data scientists are typically the closest people to your data and spend all day thinking about it, they are often the first line in understanding how your industry is performing and your place in it.  In addition, many Data Scientists are highly adept at communicating the results of sometimes complex analyses. The analyses that Data Scientists do to understand industry trends are then often turned into thought leadership, marketing, or PR pieces for the business.

Assisting with customer success

In a B2B company, one typical data science role is to assist with customer success, essentially by performing custom analyses for customers using the data that you gather on behalf of your client.  Because the level of thought and expertise that goes into these analyses, these analyses can create very close partnerships with your client base, as you show them that you are committed to bringing them business value as well.