SINGAPORE (Aug 13): Bill Lee, a former business consultant at the now-defunct accounting firm Arthur Andersen, has seen more than his fair share of data analy­tics companies. Many of them, run by data scientists, propose to help companies manage their businesses with the help of better data. The results can sometimes be disastrous.

Lee gives the example of a university that wants to optimise its teaching staff’s class schedules so that they do not have long breaks between each class. On paper, this sounds beneficial for both the institution and staff. In reality, most teaching staff would resent back-to-back sessions or find it difficult to adhere to a schedule that is too tight.

“[Successful implementation of data analytics] depends on the art and not the science,” says Lee. “When science produces the output, how do we use the output and implement it in such a way to help the organisation progress and not panic?”

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