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The importance of adding a human touch to Big Data

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Part 4:
Innovation is dependent on a collaborative culture developed over time

Is data science enough to harness the power of Big Data?

The reams of data generated by technologies like the internet and smartphones can be structured to provide investment insights. While there needs to be dedicated data and computer science expertise within an investment team to analyse the data, our experience in integrating teams with diverse skill sets has shown us that having specific expertise on a team is not enough.

What have we learnt from 30 years of collaboration?

If a team is to be truly innovative, we believe there must be a culture of collaboration and constructive debate across these disciplines. Members — from senior to the most junior — must be encouraged to work together regularly to improve current data techniques and to test ideas in a beta environment, without fear of failure.

SAE teams regularly engage in “hackathons” where team members work together and compete to create technologies and new uses for current technologies that can aid the investment process. These cutting-edge tools may find new sources of alpha for all SAE strategies. Collaboration requires knowledge sharing, which can be facilitated with the right tools. For example, SAE’s more than 30 years of prior research is accessible to all its team members via an internal intranet page. This open archive supports efficient idea generation through documenting both successful and unsuccessful projects.

In the end, a culture that enables innovation to thrive can require many years to create as it depends on the right leadership and team chemistry. Yet, without it, effective innovation may not be sustainable.

Download a Big Data due diligence checklist

Many asset managers hope to discover unique investment insights by applying machine learning and Big Data analysis. Download a checklist of questions to ask when conducting due diligence on this topic.

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