What does General Availability of Amazon Forecast tool mean for Data Science ecosystem?

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article on “Self service Machine learning tools”. You can find a link to that article below.

Launching a successful Self Service Machine Learning product

If you are not aware already, Amazon Forecasting tool hit general availability couple of days ago. A self service analytics tool that leverages AI and ML models that have been trained on on the largest consumer databases on the planet-yes, Amazon’s own database, leveraging one of the world’s most engaged team of Data Scientists and Engineers -Amazon’s. And the key marketing tagline is -“No Machine learning experience required.”

Go through the details to see how convenient usage and pricing are. It saves you from the hassle of licensing fees and training for an off the shelf tool or having dedicated Data Scientists for forecasting or hiring an external partner to pilot a forecasting project.

This is the beginning of the end of current ecosystem of off the shelf forecasting tools and Advanced analytics providers who help clients build a customized forecasting model using open source tools. In my article that I have mentioned above, key points were: (1) As Analytics service provider, you have to stay ahead of the curve to stay relevant (2) Don’t leverage the Analytics service as value proposition, but create a portfolio of value propositions.

As I consistently mention, this will also impact everyone who wants to jump on the Data Science bandwagon. 75% of the so called “Data Science” jobs today will not exist 5 years from now. And those who got into DS only because it is currently “hot” will be in trouble.

As a service provider, if you do want to continue offering a separate advanced analytics expertise, focus on helping “train” client resources on analytics and self service analytics. 5 years from now, most of the “Advanced analytics” specifically in the area of Operations will become self service. There will be a significant demand for “Learning consulting” – people who can help functional managers understand aspects of AI and ML from their perspective, help them use the self service analytics tools and help them use the portfolio of other applications available to them optimally.

This is not as straightforward though as it sounds. Just like any other “hot” trend, a plethora of providers will mushroom up. There is Neuroscience behind taking complex topics and simplifying them into the language of users. Providers who develop this capability and create learning resources around this will be the winners.

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