All Articles by Date

Sinking boat in the ocean in Cythera, Greece

10 human reasons your data product or solution may fail

By Brian O'Neill | February 5, 2020

It takes more than math and technical skills to develop simple, useful, and usable decision support solutions. It starts with problem clarity, customer empathy and…

Giant building full of green windows of the same size with 3 tiny workers hanging and cleaning them

Should a vision for a new AI or data product be inspired by existing data…or not?

By Brian O'Neill | January 21, 2020

How should we be innovating in AI? Work backwards from in-shape data? Or start with a vision for how we’ll create value for the customer or organization?

Airplane lost in forest

Metrics toilet? Or indispensable data product?

By Brian O'Neill | January 6, 2020

You got the data. Your model rocks. Your analytics are impressive. But, do customers see indispensable decision support….or a metrics toilet?

frustrated worker at computer with hands over his eyes

Why your ugly, clunky, hard-to-use data product or solution should scare you

By Brian O'Neill | December 11, 2019

Today I want to tell you why your ugly, clunky, hard-to-use data/AI product or analytics solution should scare you. But first, you, your boss, your customer, your stakeholder—somebody—has to pass that judgement on it. They probably have, but don’t expect it to necessarily come out in the words you may expect. Just as most designers (in … Read moreWhy your ugly, clunky, hard-to-use data product or solution should scare you

Roaring fire

How to become unemployed as a data leader

By Brian O'Neill | November 13, 2019

One trend in analytics and data science I am hearing from the top thought leaders in this space is that (finally!) companies are realizing that the biggest opportunities for data that lay before us is in the pursuit of new products or enhancing existing ones, as apposed to solely focusing on incremental operational improvements. Gartner’s … Read moreHow to become unemployed as a data leader

Man jumping off cliff into crater

Ethics used to be a hassle. Now it’s not: Introducing Ethicize™, the fully AI-driven cloud-based ethics solution!

By Brian O'Neill | October 14, 2019

License our latest AI automation platform now, and get a free “Ethics Power Boost” for your next analytics or data science solution for just an additional $2.5M! That’s half off the standard price of $5M, but it’s for a limited time only. Look – why not make your solution ethical right out of the box … Read moreEthics used to be a hassle. Now it’s not: Introducing Ethicize™, the fully AI-driven cloud-based ethics solution!

Women holding binoculars

10 Sample Questions to Ask Users of Data Science Solutions to Solicit Needs and Get Problem Clarity

By Brian O'Neill | September 2, 2019

This is a two-part article focused on “what” to ask users of data science solutions and data products, and how to ask/conduct these types of research sessions. In part one, we will look at the “what,” and part two will cover the “how.” Human-centered design for data products and data science solutions doesn’t happen without … Read more10 Sample Questions to Ask Users of Data Science Solutions to Solicit Needs and Get Problem Clarity

Rows of colorful soaps

Think clean data is the blocker to your AI/Data Science initiative? Try people.

By Brian O'Neill | July 24, 2019

A few years ago when I started DFA, I wrote this article that aggregates many of the studies on failure rates for big data, analytics, and now AI projects. It serves as a reminder that you can keep throwing money at data projects, but if you don’t focus on the people involved, you can easily … Read moreThink clean data is the blocker to your AI/Data Science initiative? Try people.

Bridge over water with gap in road

Failure rates for analytics, AI, and big data projects = 85% – yikes!

By Brian O'Neill | July 23, 2019

Technology-driven projects that do not center around human needs continue to fail at a high rate. Here are the continued numbers to back it up.

Bridge to island

Analytics Translators = Data Product Management + Service Design?

By Brian O'Neill | June 25, 2019

There’s a lot of buzz about analytics translators these days. In general, I find the name to be a really poor choice for what effectively is a product management role applied to internal data science or analytics services. But, I think the skills are really important. The question is, do you really need another role/headcount, … Read moreAnalytics Translators = Data Product Management + Service Design?

A giant mess, peeps to follow, and an “anatomy of a decision”

By Brian O'Neill | May 1, 2019

This post is from Brian’s weekly mailing list. As I write this, I’m heading off to London for another edition of O’Reilly’s Strata conf. If you are headed there, you can catch my talk and mini-workshop on Wed, May. With the schedule this week, in lieu of writing a longer insight piece, I thought I … Read moreA giant mess, peeps to follow, and an “anatomy of a decision”

Colorful windows and bricks on a facade

The CED Design Framework for Integrating Advanced Analytics into Decision Support Software

By Brian O'Neill | April 17, 2019

A UX and UI framework for designing effective decision support software applications that leverage data science and analytics.

Stressed office worker at laptop.

How do you make data products and services engaging without AI and advanced analytics?

By Brian O'Neill | March 5, 2019

Low engagement; it’s a common challenge for many of my clients and the people I talk to in the analytics world. In fact, it’s the subject of my talk this year at the IIA Symposium next week. One of the concepts with design I like clients to think about with analytics is around whether your … Read moreHow do you make data products and services engaging without AI and advanced analytics?

Check engine light on car dashboard illuminated

Is an engineering or data-driven culture driving your current data product or analytics initiative toward risk?

By Brian O'Neill | February 19, 2019

Here are (25) design faults that should trigger the check-engine light I really don’t know much about cars. Furthermore, with all the computers on them now, I probably never will. However, I do care when the “CEL” goes on. The CEL, or check-engine light, is that often cryptic, blood-pressure-raising notification that mostly just makes you … Read moreIs an engineering or data-driven culture driving your current data product or analytics initiative toward risk?

Engagement Rings

Why Low Engagement May Not be the Problem With Your Data Product or Analytics Service

By Brian O'Neill | February 7, 2019

If you’re concerned about low engagement with your enterprise data product, analytics service, or decision support tool, then you might be focusing on the wrong problem. What you need to do is design an engaging experience, instead of focusing on the quantity of engagement. Gartner just posted new numbers in early 2019; once again, 80% … Read moreWhy Low Engagement May Not be the Problem With Your Data Product or Analytics Service

Toy men assembling something with frustration

Keeping Analytics Solutions in Check with Customer Needs

By Brian O'Neill | January 22, 2019

Ears, Eyes and Empathy Guide the Best MVPs AI and Machine Learning Are Not a Panacea for Every Analytics Problem  Since AI, predictive, and prescriptive analytics are big right now, there is a tendency for companies to “want” to use this technology and throw it into their marketing jargon as well. Boards and executives are … Read moreKeeping Analytics Solutions in Check with Customer Needs

Rough prototype of a miniature car powered by a AA battery

Designing MVPs for Data Products and Decision Support Tools

By Brian O'Neill | January 10, 2019

Author’s Note: This article was originally published to my mailing list, hence the reference to previous emails and published podcast episodes.   Before I jump into this week’s article on MVPs for custom data products, just wanted to address one listener’s response to the new podcast in case others had the same experience. Re: the audio … Read moreDesigning MVPs for Data Products and Decision Support Tools

Scalpels for surgery

Does your data product enable surgery, or healing?

By Brian O'Neill | December 11, 2018

I recently started playing percussion in a new Celtic ensemble in Boston called Ishna, and we were recently invited to be a guest artist with Symphony NH (New Hampshire). After our concerts concluded, the executive director invited Ishna to a dinner with some of the symphony staff and  board members. This is pretty typical: board members … Read moreDoes your data product enable surgery, or healing?

Reasons your next sprint, product, or project might fail

By Brian O'Neill | October 2, 2018

Good design happens at the intersection of discovering real user needs/wants and business goals that are ACTIONABLE (by design and engineering). Yes, there’s a little magic/instinct that creeps into good design too, but you can get far without a lot of this magic. It’s really more about nailing the problem set, and having really clear … Read moreReasons your next sprint, product, or project might fail

Commuters in a Terminal

Why the difference between design and Design may make or break your data product.

By Brian O'Neill | October 2, 2018

Good Design–what I sometimes call—”Capital D Design”—has the power to make your data sing, delight customers/users, bring new/better ROI to your organization, provide inspiration to teams, reduce complexity, reduce engineering cost, save time for users, and expose new value in your existing service. However, the big gains usually don’t come from focusing on the surface level alone. Better data visualization cannot fix every data product and analytics problem.