I would tend to think that many companies unfortunately do not even understand what to expect out of these talents. While everybody needs data scientists and AI experts when their data strategy itself is not in place. I have closely witnessed when these short supply of talented individuals (many of them are PhD’s; as hiring companies wouldn’t settle for anyone less than a PhD) are hired to build data pipeline, data lakes and miscellaneous non data science specific capabilities. And for this non availability of fundamental ingredient (data), slowly the job requirements have started to specify data management (and data pipeline building) as AI pre-requisites. Clearly there will be an scarcity of finding someone with all the skills of a software engineer + data management expert + programmer + mathematical genius + Hadoop administrator + AI architect + and 10’s of other skills which may or may not be the focus area of a data scientist. Sad situation !
Recently I concluded a data science workshop with a digital marketing agency in SE Asia and perhaps had an experience of seeing the inside working of an agency for the first time. While I have immensely inspired from the leadership for how quickly they have developed a leading agency brand; I left with an impression that most of the agencies have no niche USP to offer other than filing the man power void for their clients that are needed to connect the ‘need to reach to digital consumers’ with the digital marketing powerhouses. (Google, Facebook etc.). I mean I totally failed to understand what will stop the Google’s and Facebook’s of the world to offer their platform directly without much need of agencies in near future. (with developing AI capabilities, the evolution of human like robots might be still far fetched dream; but AI driven keyword optimization, AI driven SEO and SEM are about to become mainstream offering in months if not days). There is absolutely no entry barrier for anyone to start a digital agency business and join the ‘manpower supplier’ business model but I think it will abruptly cease pretty much soon in the current form.
In my view the real USP of digital marketing businesses lies with the companies who see their proprietary data as a strategic asset (that’s what have made likes of Google the unbeatable marketing machines) and continue building / enriching these invaluable resources. That’s something that neither competition can catch-up nor Google’s of the world can replicate. It’s going to be inevitable for survival and real winners will be the ones who jump start their data strategy before its too late !
It’s about time that many companies (specially marketing agencies) who play the role of data brokers (fetching leads data through search engines / social media) start creating their proprietary database to have their niche in otherwise ‘no barrier’ agency business.
Context : This note from Bill Franks
Bill has aptly put analytics outsourcing in perspective and I could not stop myself from expanding it further to my earlier post.
Spot on Bill Franks! I wonder how the third party analytics (so called knowledge powerhouses) companies will take it as they claim to manage end-to-end analytics (but mostly end up in creating just the reports, huh !).
I have personally witnessed the gigantic mistakes made by some global corporations (some are still walking that path), only to painfully course correct after extensive damage done by blind outsourcing. In my view, apart from the obvious cost benefit (only on paper) narrative of outsourcing; the outsourcing mistakes are also made due to the ‘generalists given responsibility to manage analytics’ within the organization. On one hand these decision makers are clueless about the mechanics of setting up analytics on the other they find it very convenient to outsource ‘everything’. This buys them significant time to get incarnated as ‘analytics evangelists’ and at the same time the outsourcing partner gets all the crap of not been able to meet the expectations.
By the time the mistake is realized, the generalists now converted into analytics evangelists remember enough analytics jargon to sell themselves into some bigger role or get into some other organizations again to repeat the same modus-operandi and outsourcing business continues !