The process of business digital transformation involves a change in the paradigm of current employment. The focus of the companies must be oriented towards a more technological vision, which goes beyond the introduction of new tools. Jorge Díaz Limón, data scientist at LafargeHolcim EMEA Digital Center, share with us his thoughts about the future of the industry and the fundamental role that data will have to meet its challenges.
How has Data Science evolved over recent years?
The world today is evolving at great speed and that is particularly true of technology.
We can process and consume more data than we ever thought possible, and data themselves are growing exponentially. We are generating data all over the place. There are millions of sensors, cameras and devices that produce data every single minute, hour and day. Think about all the data stored in our transactional and data storage systems just for traceability or archive purposes.
As such, companies and industry are placing increasing importance on data science. We need people, tools and elements that help us to understand how we can analyse these data and to obtain better results through this analysis.
To what extent has data science become a fundamental part of business strategy? What is the major benefit of data science today?
Today, both individuals and organisations are continuously demanding more. We cannot resolve problems like we used to, with solutions of the past and static formulas. We need to delegate part of the data analysis to tools and technologies that can see them from a different angle.
The main benefit of data science today is: the ability to consume and process large volumes of data and to generate information for business in order to make the best decisions possible.
What previously unimaginable processes / products / technologies are becoming possible today thanks to data science?
Think about when someone has worked for a company for 30 years or more and is the only person in the company that can carry out a specific process. Perhaps, in these cases, there are situations that human beings cannot revolve by themselves.
We humans have the ability to think. Machines do not. But we cannot process data as quickly as machines can. Today, cloud-based solutions have the ability to prepare and process data in a way that was previously unthinkable.
The big advantage we have today in the area of data science is the ability to calculate local solutions in the cloud. Statistical models are not new and we are still working with algorithms created over 100 years ago. Therefore, the big difference, in comparison with the past, is the ability to execute those algorithms in a suitable period of time.
How should companies adapt their structure to make the most of data science?
Firstly, we have to change the mentality of our colleagues who work in silos and who use processes established long ago. Clients, technology and suppliers, etc., cannot wait and they want solutions now that meet their needs. So, in this case, we need to have more agile processes in order to be ready to conduct timely analyses.
Secondly, companies should put data at the centre of their organisations and evolve to be data-based companies.
Finally, it is important to be prepared with appropriate tools and technology that meet business requirements.
Correct communication will be key throughout this process.
How does LafargeHolcim EMEA Digital Center use data science to develop its products and services?
We work with the business to identify potential proofs of concept (PoC). The main goal is to grow up in the area of analytics to gain the knowledge required to create value in different areas. Today, we are working on a number of PoCs, mainly in the area of manufacturing, applying automatic learning for quality and preventative maintenance processes.