April 23, 2020

Slalom Consulting’s Erinn Mitchell on Having Data Not Getting Lost in Translation

In the Harvard Business Review article “You Don’t Have to Be a Data Scientist to Fill This Must-Have Analytics Role,” the authors highlighted the emerging discipline of “Analytics Tanslator” as crucial in the increasingly converging worlds of data and business:
“At the outset of an analytics initiative, translators draw on their domain knowledge to help business leaders identify and prioritize their business problems, based on which will create the highest value when solved. These may be opportunities within a single line of business (e.g., improving product quality in manufacturing) or cross-organizational initiatives (e.g., reducing product delivery time).”
This is a precursor-job description for the current responsibility of “Data Translator” advocated by Erinn Mitchell, a Data & Analytics Consultant at professional services firm Slalom. This role calls for a specialist who is strategically (and happily) nestled between the business side—regarding goals and strategy, and the data side—regarding information that is collected and measured. The Data Translator’s instincts and skills are focused on turning complex, large data sets into actionable steps.

Adjacent to the rising importance of industry expertise, data visualization, storytelling, et al., the factor that intrigued me the most from Erinn’s presentation was putting a spotlight on a sought-after virtue: trust. Translating data into useful (potentially insightful) information for a business-schooled-and-minded audience is ultimately a workflow of trust.

Considering the absolute integrity and security of data in this systems-intense era (when reliability is both lossy and fragile), trust is the absolute requirement. The description given by Erinn for the Data Translator, whose purpose is vigilantly working across the areas of analytics and business, was apt: a relationship. To make it work, trust must be the basis (absolutely).

Thanks again to Promotable who supplement their virtual workshops with relevant perspectives through their organizing of regular talks online! Explore their channel on YouTube.

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