Data science has become more than just a buzzword. Every organization today, whether part of the private or public sector and regardless of size, has started utilizing data science to improve the way they do things. But before we delve into the benefits that data science offers, let us first define what data scientists do and why data science matters.
Data scientists are tasked to unearth patterns and trends from big data and derive useful insights that aid companies make the right decisions, set goals, and forecast what the future will bring. They use several statistical tools, algorithms, and programming skills, among others, to analyze large sets of data that come from multiple sources to turn insights into actionable items.
Now that we know a little more about data science, it’s time to discuss how it has enhanced the world and is currently impacting the society.
Saving Lives and Improving People’s Health
It sounds like a tough task, but it is true. Data science has been saving lives by identifying potential health risks or possible diseases and illnesses that may arise based on collected historical healthcare data.
The information that wearable devices record like a person’s heart rate can, for instance, help predict the likelihood that he/she has a cardiovascular problem that a doctor should attend to so it won’t lead to a heart attack.
Data science can also improve the accuracy and efficiency of medical diagnoses. The U.S. alone, for instance, reports 12 million misdiagnosed cases each year that could lead to a patient’s death instead of cure. And now that more and more healthcare service providers use electronic health records (EHRs), data scientists can give more accurate analyses that will help doctors generate better diagnoses and make better-informed decisions for patient treatment. They can also make more personalized recommendations using actual patient data as opposed to generic healthcare plans.
Helping People Make Better Decisions
Data scientists believe that numbers tell stories and reveal valuable information if used correctly. Using their findings and insights, company executives and other decision-makers can point their subordinates in the right direction, helping them reach their business goals more efficiently. Besides, using data instead of opinions helps them avoid biases. Quantifiable evidence, not conjecture, supports every decision.
This year, experts predict the volume of data available will reach 44 trillion gigabytes. That can be overwhelming and difficult to sort out the useful from what is not without data science, that is. But this much information is bound to contain valuable insights that can help companies improve their business. It can, for instance, let them know how their target market sees its products and services. It can clue them in to the ways users are consuming their offerings, too. Or, allow them to compare their goods with the competition. All of these can help companies figure out how they can improve their products and services to gain a more significant share of the market and increase their profit margins. That is, after all, one of data science’s more widely known uses—predictive analysis.
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Paving the Way toward Product Innovation and Breakthroughs
Analyzing information with different formats such as customer feedback and reviews can be resource-intensive and time-consuming. But every organization needs to know what their clients need and want. Only then can their products and services become the best.
Data scientists can build a program that automatically translates feedback into useful information for product or service improvement. Using its insights, vendors can hone their offerings to fit the market needs. That can then lead to customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Some customers may even have ideas that can lead to the creation of new products and services.
Optimizing Marketing Strategies
Marketing plays a crucial role in the success or failure of a product or service. That is why all companies allocate a budget for it.
Data science has changed the way by which digital marketers use historical campaign information. Today’s marketers determine how much of their budget should go to what marketing channel (print ads, social media platforms, and others) using data science. They also continually monitor and analyze customer behaviors and reactions to enhance strategies and tailor-fit them to clients. They use the information they get from analytics tools to create customer personas and customize their marketing campaigns for each intended audience. Gone are the days when they used a one-campaign-fits-all strategy.
Much like how organizations use analytics to determine customer behavior, they can also use threat data to keep track of anomalies or suspicious activity in their networks. Cyberattacks are no longer uncommon, and any business is at risk of becoming the next victim.
As such, many of today’s banks and other financial institutions employ data science to prevent fraud and tighten their security. However, since they process large volumes of day-to-day transactions, manual checking is nearly impossible. So, they have come to rely on analytics tools that spot irregularities in processes that could be signs of fraudulent activity. These tools allow them to focus on priority alerts and take the necessary action.
The Buck Doesn’t Stop There: Other Data Science Applications
Data science, in a nutshell, promotes efficiency and productivity and translates to better opportunities and higher profits. But those are not the only benefits it provides. It also helps in:
- Traffic rerouting: Navigation apps use data science. Its ability to suggest alternative routes helps us save gas money and commute time.
- Package rerouting: UPS uses data science to come up with solutions to package delivery challenges and issues such as inclement weather to enhance its customer service.
- Recruiting sports professionals and improving game strategies: Make no mistake, sports teams are also using data to come up with better game strategies. The NBA, for instance, uses information from a small camera placed on the hoops to know where best to take a shot to win a game. In the U.K., a soccer team uses data to identify undervalued players and recruit them before big teams do.
Data science indeed opened up several opportunities for users in various industries. It has also improved our way of life. And as more and more enterprises adopt and harness the benefits that data science offers, we are bound to see more innovations and breakthroughs soon.