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Breaking Data Science Open by Christine Doig, Michele Chambers, Ian Stokes-Rees

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Chapter 5. Data Science Executive Sponsorship

In the previous chapter, we’ve learned why Open Data Science matters. It has the potential to dramatically transform the way organizations pursue critical strategic initiatives, as well as the way they track and measure success.

These enabling characteristics of Open Data Science, coupled with its widespread grassroots adoption, have a downside. Individuals within an organization can now make technology decisions that do not have up-front costs and can therefore bypass the established review processes—covering technical suitability, strategic opportunity, and total cost—that have traditionally been required of proprietary technology. Even worse is that different individuals may make conflicting technology decisions that come to light only once projects have made significant progress. Thus, to ensure that the short- and long-term business outcomes of adoptixng Open Data Science are aligned with the company’s strategic direction, executive sponsorship is essential.

This might sound like the typical IT-projects-need-executive-sponsorship soapbox. But keep in mind that we’re talking about making room in the enterprise IT landscape for a new world where Open Data Science connects with new and existing data to inform everything from day-to-day micro decisions to occasional strategic macro decisions. Open Data Science introduces new risks that are mitigated by appropriate executive sponsorship:

De facto technology decisions

Expedient decisions ...

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