Why Audit and Data Science Should be Married

I read a highly rated question/answer on Quora about Key Performance Indicators for a data science team (https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-best-KPIs-for-Data-Science-team) and couldn’t help but to respond out of empathy and frustration.  Many respondants recommend KPIs related to one of the biggest obstacles many decision science project… getting access to the data.

It boggles my mind why organizations put so many resources and strategic focus on data-driven decisions, but don’t give their own teams access to the data they need to do their job.  The openly-biased opinion of The Analytic Auditor is that the audit function is a perfect solution.  Auditors (particularly Internal Auditors) hold a permanent spot in the organization that demands several factors that are pivotal to starting any decision science project.  These include:

  1. Access to executive sponsors that drive data projects,
  2. Established processes for handling sensitive and protected data, and
  3. Durable access to data and systems across the organization.

No other unit across the organization enjoys all these benefits.  Not directors, not consultants, and not even database administrators!  Those of us in an internal audit or similar role should use every one of these factors to our advantage!  You can get started by listening to executive concerns, requesting access to every system we can, diving deep into data with every tool we have at our disposal, and delivering insights!  And this article focuses on auditors’ advantages for starting decision science projects.  Our advantages continue into the data science process.  More to come, please subscribe to make sure you receive future posts on how that occurs!