Report Writer vs Business Intelligence vs Data Scientist

So with all the discussion lately on Reporting, Business Intelligence and Data Scientist I've been wracking my mind to find a distinction.

And here's what I've come up with for my own personal definitions.

When thinking about data there is the technical side.  One who extracts data into a report is a Report Writer.

The next step is if you know how the business works and combine that with Report Writing, ETL, Data Cleansing, Data Governance and Data Mashing then you are a Business Intelligence Analyst.

The third part of the equation is the Analysis side.  If you know how the business works and combine the technical side of BI and then go a step further by adding Analytics, Data Mining, Forecasting, Predictive Models to derive Hypothesis then you are a Data Scientist.

A Report Writer can gather spec, translate into code and deliver to customer.

A Business Intelligence person can explain the report in Business terms and track the data back to it's source.

A Data Scientist can explain the report in Business terms and then explain the patterns and meaning behind the report, give recommendations on how to steer the org and slice the data in meaningful ways to provide different levels of insight.

I'm sure we could go into a lot more detail than these simple explanations.

However it boils down to three things:
  1. Technology
  2. Business
  3. Analysis
Can you work with data?  Can you relate the business aspects of the org with the data?  Can you find insight for your organization through technology.

Everything starts with the data.

That's the way I see it.

Data is collected in at unbelievable rates.  Costs have become lower for hardware, for software and now huge volumes of data are now available to the "Average Joe Developer".  Many organizations can find Report Writers, Business Intelligence Developers and Data Scientist to sift through the data, mash with alternate data sets, Mine the data for patterns, Predict future behavior / events by finding the Golden Nuggets of Insight just sitting there in the data, waiting to be found, unearthed.

So what are you waiting for, start digging through your data and get the competitive advantage!

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