The art of the possible.
It’s an overused cliché, but I like the sound of it; the power of it. It makes me think of the ways people bring concepts to life from little moments of inspiration and ideation. While steady, secure progress has its place, it’s the “art” that fascinates me because it’s the best way to describe how people bring their intangible talents and skills into the world. In Altair’s case, we try to infuse that “art” into things that create business value.
When we acquired RapidMiner, we knew we’d found an extraordinary way to help our customers. You may have heard of RapidMiner’s data science software (more than a million people have), but you may not be familiar with its Center of Excellence (CoE) methodology. Though it might sound crazy, I believe the CoE is even more impactful than the data science technology. After all, software alone doesn’t transform business – people do.
So, how do companies deliver on their lofty goals of digital transformation in an age of hyperdigitalization? Through a combination of software, people, process, and plans. That’s where the CoE shines. And it all begins – and ends – with business value.
The Altair RapidMiner CoE is an established and repeatable process, much like learning to drive a car. To start, we establish the roadmap, and then we work with our customers through the CoE’s training, similar to “driver’s ed.” During this stage, scalable training and certification programs help customers keep their hands on the wheel, enabling them to apply data science competently with the Altair RapidMiner platform. If they need help, we’re right there to assist.
The next phase helps customers deliver value, plain and simple. Along the way, the CoE helps organizations constantly upskill their employees’ knowledge of both Altair RapidMiner and general data science software principles. The reality is that there will never be enough dedicated data scientists for all organizations to have their own dedicated team – but teams need data science more than ever. The solution? Consistently upskill the people you have.
Let’s take a more detailed look at this program, including its history, impact, and future as part of Altair.
Center of Excellence Overview
RapidMiner pioneered a lot of things, especially the concept of visual, accessible, democratized data science tools. This was a breakthrough in the industry, but it wasn’t a smash hit right away – after all, when RapidMiner broke onto the scene, there were very few people that specialized in data science. There were even fewer data scientists who sat fully outside the data science world and had specialized domain expertise in, say, the construction, manufacturing, or financial industries. So, while RapidMiner had an incredible platform with game-changing tools and principles, it had to overcome a few major obstacles – or points of friction – that we still see today. These include:
- Teams and organizations struggling to know where to start with data science tools and platforms
- Organizations struggling to expand their data science capabilities outside of isolated, one-off use cases
- Individuals and teams having an insufficient grasp on core data science principles and tools
- Lack of dedicated in-house data science experts and resources
In other words, adopting the latest data science platform didn’t make organizations self-sufficient data gurus, the same way picking up a hammer doesn’t make someone a carpenter. To address these challenges and more, RapidMiner devised the CoE.
The CoE gives individuals, teams, and organizations the power to understand and implement data principles, tools, and approaches alongside Altair’s experts. But the CoE is more than just training.
It's a holistic, multi-faceted, continuous approach to learning and support that upskills anyone to the point where they can utilize basic data analysis and data science skills and techniques, even if they don’t have a data background.
What I love about the CoE and its approach is its emphasis is on people and outcomes, not software. Altair has always had a similar approach, thus aligning the CoE perfectly with our vision of a democratized, flexible, accessible data analysis and science landscape for all users and delivering successful solutions.
The CoE approach includes:
- An individualized assessment that establishes a portfolio approach to help de-risk artificial intelligence (AI) transformation and identify use cases with ROIs to prioritize
- Deployment and configuration assistance to ensure platform setup goes smoothly and quickly
- Enablement and certification processes that upskill individuals across the organization, and provide free testing that helps us determine who “gets it” and who still needs more assistance
- Co-development implementation support where customers work with Altair’s in-house experts to productize use cases and ensure continued success
- Joint quarterly assessments to ensure teams are on track with existing projects and have clear goals and action items for upcoming use cases
The CoE ensures both individuals and teams are at the level they need to be at to evaluate and make their use cases efficient, successful, and repeatable. Most importantly, they know Altair’s team will be alongside them to ensure their AI and data journey is “de-risked” and able to shift and flow as needed.
Best of all, the CoE meets individuals and teams at the level they are at – regardless of whether they’re an engineer new to data science or an executive new to data-driven decisions. In all, the CoE’s driving principle is to help customers determine the right use cases to target based on an ROI focus. From there, they can work with our experts to then successfully develop and implement high-priority use cases.
The Big Picture
There’s never been a better time to invest in data analytics. Making data-driven decisions has always been a concept that very few organizations have been able to accomplish…until now. With the CoE, we look forward to further empowering our customers by giving them the tools and skills they need to succeed in today’s data-centric world. When teams and organizations make confident, informed, and well-implemented data science decisions supported by world-class tools and experts, we all benefit.
I can’t wait to see what our customers will be able to achieve with the CoE. To learn more, visit https://rapidminer.com/methodology/. And to read more about the powerful combination of Altair and RapidMiner, check out the following articles: