Why You Need a Domain Expert for a Successful Data Discovery Project in Your Organization

by Julia Burak, MBA



Posted on December 2, 2017 at 7:00 PM


In this post we are going to tell you about Data Discovery which is different from traditional data analytics tools you could have met on the market until now. This is a new approach where the human domain expert is placed at the core of the product instead of trying to fully automate the entire data analysis project. We believe that the unique experience and knowledge of a human domain expert is a crucial addition to Data Discovery techniques in order to yield highly advanced and truly valuable insights from your data.

Pitfalls of Fully Automated Data Analytics

Do you still believe you can entrust an entire Data Analysis project in the hands of Machines? Each organization is a unique synergy of processes, policies, people and other subsystems integrated into one complex entity to achieve its goals. The complexity of organizations is similar to a biological organism. Moreover, the knowledge and experience which has been built up since its establishment is of vital importance for the organization. A machine itself is not able to learn and understand all these complexities. When you only use machines for data analysis, you throw away all the invaluable expertise people in your organization possess and which has been accumulated for many years. In the past many data analytics projects failed because the knowledge base which was already available in their organization wasn`t considered, and data analysts were just discovering things which in fact were already known.

“When you only use machines for data analysis, you throw away all the invaluable expertise people in your organization possess and which has been accumulated for many years.”

Who is a Domain Expert?

A domain expert is a person in the client`s organization who knows a lot about the inner workings of the company and the issues the company is struggling with. The domain expert usually gives a data analyst an initial idea of the questions that need to be answered through Data Discovery. Additionally, the domain experts can give pointers on which data may be available in the organization for this purpose. Based on this starting point, a data analyst starts exploring the data. On regular occasions, the analyst confirms with this domain expert if the findings he or she is uncovering are valuable to the client`s organization. The domain expert will guide the analyst during the discovery process to make sure value is delivered to the client. So let`s take a closer look at the main reasons why the domain expert will help get the most out of your Data Discovery project.

Better Discovery with Knowledge Sharing

As was already mentioned in this post, the knowledge base built up in the organization should not be ignored during the Data Discovery project. And this is where the domain expert comes in. You would be tempted to say: could it be that a human expert sifts through millions of data records manually alike the machine? He could not, but he is the one who disposes of extensive and unique knowledge about the domain under investigation. If a domain expert is not involved in the Data Discovery process, a data analyst will be lost and will just be discovering things which are already known or trivial. You need a domain expert to bring his unique knowledge on the table and incorporate it in the discovery process. On top of that, in combination with discovery software incredible results can be achieved and amazing insights can be uncovered.

A Policy Making Position Matters

A plan is nothing without action. Uncovering hidden knowledge and valuable insights is only a part of success. If you do not have a domain expert in a policy making position, then the findings of Data Discovery will most likely not be put into practice in your organization. The final goal of a Data Discovery trajectory is to optimize business processes and drive positive changes in your organization. The domain expert with his policy making position is the right person to help his organization get the intended benefits and value of the findings.

“The domain expert with his policy making position is the right person to help his organization get the intended benefit and value of the findings.”

Business Approach rather than Extensive IT Knowledge

In contrast to what many people think, the domain expert not necessarily has to be in charge of the IT department. More often a domain expert will be somebody from the business side whereas the IT department will usually play a supporting role during the Data Discovery process. IT people usually do not have the required business knowledge to drive positive changes at the level of the organization. The domain expert, who is from the business side, can establish an effective communication channel between the IT department and executive management to ensure a successful alignment of business and IT goals is accomplished at the highest level. The role of the domain expert is significant for achieving desired business objectives through Data Discovery.

Openness to Accept New Knowledge

A successful Data Discovery project results in changes to the organization, its future development and history. Why the domain expert is the right person to join on the way to transformation? The domain expert knows his domain very well, he is passionate about it, he knows the struggling points of the organization and he is indeed enthusiastic about resolving these issues. The domain expert is always open to accept new knowledge and this quality definitely makes the discovery process more successful.

We hope this post was useful and we are happy to hear your feedback and any questions you may have.
Thank you for reading!


Julia Burak

Julia Burak is in charge of Business Development at Clarida Technologies.


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