The data science field is hot. According to the Indeed Hiring Lab, data science job postings have increased 256 percent since December 2013. Yet, despite the recognized importance of data scientists, many companies struggle to derive value and tangible benefits from these relatively new positions.

If this sounds familiar, read on for some key considerations for maximizing your data science investment and ensure you’re getting the most from your analytics team:

  • Don’t get technical for technical’s sake: Data modeling, algorithms, and other technical terms certainly have their place in conversations with data scientists, but many experts caution executives not to “talk to data scientists in technical terms that they don’t really understand.”
  • Engage in frequent, transparent communication: This is a tip that could apply to any number of enterprise roles, but it’s particularly important when working with data scientists. These teams work with a staggering amount of information and could easily waste time and resources compiling reports and models that have little value to the business. It’s essential that executives have an ongoing dialogue with their data scientists and ensure there is a mutual understanding of business goals and the insights needed to meet these objectives.
  • Do a data deep dive: The first step in empowering your data scientists is understanding your existing data ecosystem, the type of data required for different forms of analysis, and what might be needed to bridge these gaps. Quite often, this might entail asking questions of the data science team and soliciting their help identifying any bottlenecks and devising solutions.
  • Encourage and model collaboration: As InformationWeek’s Lisa Morgan put it, “The best way to align data science efforts with the business is to share ideas and work toward a common goal.” That’s why it’s important for executives to make a point of working together and encouraging collaboration among all the departments that interface with the data science team.
  • Provide context: Giving data scientists the broader business context behind the problem you’re looking to solve can help them be more effective and identify the right insights that can help propel the business forward.

It’s a data-driven world, and one that will only become more so as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and other digital technologies increase in enterprise adoption. Data scientists will continue to play an integral role, so it’s important that business leaders set them up for success and are prepared to help them reach their full potential.