Steve Miller authored a very good article about Data Science Skepticism over at Information Management.

I’ve previously written about Data Science and shared an excellent video about what makes a great data scientist. Both posts are expanded primers on the emerging field.

The TL;DR version is:

A Data Scientist (DS) sits at the intersection of computer science, statistical methods, and business.

I won’t define what Business Intelligence (BI) is.

There’s an EMC study making the rounds. Steve Miller takes exception to some portions of that study.

To summarize Steve Miller:

  • Findings from the EMC survey made certain statements about BI’s that are unnecessarily polarizing, and should be viewed with suspicion by data scientists (which should be their natural inclination anyway).
  • DS distinguishes itself by applying the scientific method to data, discovering insight and productizing that output for both customers and businesses.
  • BI also uses the scientific method, is focused on internal operations, and there’s nothing wrong that at all – just recognize the continuum.

One of the most useful quotes in the article is:

“Others contend that data science distinguishes from traditional BI in its strict adherence to the scientific method that:

  • Observes a phenomenon or group of phenomena;
  • Formulates a hypothesis to explain the phenomena. The hypothesis takes the form of a causal relationship or a mathematical function (the more of X, the less of Y);
  • Uses the hypothesis to predict the results of new observations; and
  • Performs tests (experiments) with the predictions.”


  • Marketing science and data science are not divisions of business intelligence, although, it is easier to sell that way. (And whatever – sellers are gonna sell.)
  • Business Intelligence is a division of Operations Research.
  • As a data scientist and a marketing scientist, I turn data into products, actionable insights and stories, and others are entitled to define themselves any way they want to. 


I’m Christopher Berry.
I tweet about analytics @cjpberry
I write at