Dreamforce ’15: The Mainstreaming of Data Science

Sean Cassidy

A few short years ago, data scientists didn’t exist – at least in title. Big Data has been with us – and ever expanding – since the dawn of the modern computing age in the 1990s. And while experts of various stripes have been mining that data for just as long (think Billy Beane), the position of data scientist didn’t properly exist until it was coined in 2008 by LinkedIn’s D.J. Patil, and Facebook’s Jeff Hammerbacher.

For the last seven years, the discipline has grown quietly behind the scenes while the tech media focused on the abstraction of Big Data. Data science sounded cool, but for most businesses – especially for B2B companies outside the media space – it seemed to belong in the realm of PhDs and other “brainy types.”

Funny how things can pivot so quickly. Over the past two years or so, data science has started to become top of mind in the business world, and not just for behind-the-scenes analysts. Data science has crept into the consciousness of the C-suite and sales and marketing leadership.

Why? We’ve finally figured out how to democratize Big Data in a way that has a direct impact on the front lines of business. In the years following the emergence of Big Data as a buzzword, there seemed to be hundreds of companies stepping in to crunch all that data for you on various flavors of “analytics platforms” or “data engines.” Which is all well and good, but how does all that valuable information actually get packaged and consumed in a way that directly impacts your business? That’s what’s happening right now.

The Mainstreaming of Data Science

In other words, we’ve progressed from first collecting reams of data to developing a discipline to make sense of it all (our esteemed data scientists) to finally being able to deliver it to the front lines in an automated and actionable way. From marketing automation and contact acceleration to CPQ and pricing, data-science driven recommendations are now being consumed every day in the sales and marketing world.

This new era of data democratization is nowhere more evident than at Dreamforce ’15.

Last year at Dreamforce, Salesforce launched Wave and the Analytics Cloud. Earlier this year, Marc Benioff announced “We’re in the early stages of a data science revolution.” And at Dreamforce ’15, data science and analytics are again a very important part of the conversation. Here’s some session highlights:

In addition to the sessions, there will be dozens of Salesforce ecosystem partners highlighting data science and analytics on the Cloud Expo floor.

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