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Bridget Lillethorup

Technical Writer

bridget.lillethorup@gmail.com

Bridget writes much of CAN's website copy and helps optimize SEO. Her background in creative writing and history makes her ideally suited to convey some of our complex technical projects into reader-friendly copy.

Like what you see? Connect with Bridget.

Related

Check out Data Science Central

on May 11

The Man Behind the Scenes: An Interview with Nate Watson

on April 20

In the next few years, CAN is predicted to be among the nation’s leaders in data science. We have an impressive resume to back this up. We’ve worked with multiple Fortune 500 hundred companies, and many more Fortune 1000 companies all over the globe and have built a solid reputation among local Omahans for producing experts in data science and IT.

A year ago we joined up with Interface Web School and created the Omaha Data Science Academy (Oma-DSA). Our dedication to educating our community — from recent college graduates to single moms looking for a new career — has bolstered our reputation as not only an upstanding professional service but also a down-to-earth, human-to-human, educational source.

We also have an impressive network of CAN alums (Oma-DSA grads and former CAN employees) to prove this educational dedication. When you work for CAN, we don’t just want you to improve our company. We want you to improve yourself. That’s why so many of our graduates and employees have moved on to work for businesses all over the country, and to start their own businesses.

We have AIM and The Start-Up Collaborative to thank for our continued success. As CAN turns a year older, a lot of people are stopping us to ask this question:

 

Will CAN stay in Omaha?

Of course we will.

Does that shock you? To some it might seem like the next logical step for CAN is to move to a bigger city where there are more businesses, take on investment, and find more talent. But’s that not how we see it. We think Omaha is perfect.

Let’s examine the two mottos of the area: Omaha and Council Bluffs (Omaha’s sister city across the river from Omaha).

Omaha’s motto is “We Don’t Coast”. This has two meanings. This first is literal. Obviously, we don’t have coasts. And to add to that, we don’t mountain either. But the metaphorical meaning is even more true: we’re a city of do-ers. We don’t slack. We don’t waste time. We act on our ideas. We collaborate. We make waves.

Council Bluff’s motto is “Unlike Anywhere Else. On Purpose.”. Our friendly, work-hard, be-nice attitude, does not come naturally; rather, it’s something we strive to be. We know it puts us ahead. We don’t have to try to be hip and trendy, our values are more genuine. We’re happy with our identity.

What is Omaha’s identity? Let’s dive a little deeper.

 

Omaha’s bragging rights

Every town in the country has that one special thing that draws tourists, like a giant ball of yarn or a natural history museum. Omaha has more than gimmicks, however. We have the whole package.

We have the people.

We spoke a little about our personality in reference to our mottos. One phrase that CAN likes to use to describe the good people Omaha is “homesteader mentality.” We’re not afraid to put in hours and work. The 9-5 workday is not always our mode of operation when a job needs to be done. We work overtime to accomplish goals, and we approach problems with the end goal of figuring out a solution, not just putting in hours. 

Anecdote: Our original Founder used to tell people we only worked half days…7am to 7pm…

We also have a different kind of people. Because Omaha doesn’t have the density of other big cities, we have had to make our actions “on purpose”. In Omaha, people are willing to give advice and collaborate. Since everyone is connected in someway, with the right idea anyone could have lunch with 1 of the 5 billionaires that live in Nebraska. On the coasts, these people would be way to pre-occupied to give just any idea the time of day.

Most importantly, the people of Omaha understand good enough. We’re not caught up in the fame game. You could say we’re slow and steady, because we strive for improvement, not perfection. We don’t cut corners, we work hard to build ourselves up. Just like CAN has done in the past 9 years.

We are the place.

We’re not just small town in the middle of the country. Omaha has a global reach that surpasses many of the other bigger cities in the MidWest. Omaha is a business community. 

For instance, not so long ago Omaha was the equivalent of Silicon Valley for telecommunication. A lot of these big corporations are still headquartered in Omaha. Omaha currently has 4 Fortune 500 company headquarters.

Our agricultural companies ship grain all over the world, and we manage money for people across all six inhabited continents.

This spirit of success continues at every level. You can see it in the halls of the start-up collaborative. People young and old come to work on tech-related ideas and products that they believe will boost up Omaha’s name even more. 

Omaha is also a major transportation hub, with the largest N/S and E/W interstates running through the city and the nation’s largest railroad located downtown. In four hours you can go just about anywhere in the country from our airport, making Omaha a major crossroads of tech and transport.

Not to mention our cost of living is among the lowest in the country. Less personal expenses mean you can invest more in your business. More investments equals more momentum for success.

Still, starting a business in Nebraska has its challenges. Constraints, however, often produce creative solutions. With a state population of 1.8 million, isolation has been CAN’s biggest constraint. Isolation has forced CAN to learn to build a national client base using blogging, social networks, and virtual meetings.

We knew that this results-oriented culture of Omaha would help us create a business that provides real value for our customers and help to keep our business focused on the long-term instead of quick wins.

We have some cool things.

You probably don’t need a whole lot more convincing, but here’s a few websites that list awesome social and cultural aspects of Omaha:

  1. “8 Reasons to Move to Omaha, NE”
  2. “7 Reason why Omaha is the Best City in the US to Live In”
  3. “30 Things You Need to Know About Omaha Before You Move There”

Food, fashion, furry things. When we at CAN aren’t busy working on projects, we have unique opportunities to explore the MidWest culture.  

 

CAN Loves Omaha

Between the travel opportunities, the global reach, the hard-working mentality, and the room for growth, CAN couldn’t choose a better city for their headquarters. Omaha is producing more tech talent every year at half the price of those on the coast. CAN wants to hire this talent, give them real data analytics experience, and send them wherever they need to go. Without the resources and mentality of Omaha, this would not be possible.

In the end, CAN is going anywhere. We believe in our community, we believe in improvement, and we believe in sticking with our roots. 


Related

Why will CAN stay in Omaha?

on May 23

The Man Behind the Scenes: An Interview with Nate Watson

on April 20

Open up any computer at the CAN headquarters and you’ll see our favorite data science website as our homepage: datasciencecentral.com. Articles, webinars, resources, ideas, tools, you name it. If it’s related to data science, it’s there.

Today, we’d like to share some knowledge from Rick Riddle. Check out his article “How can organizations successfully convert big data into real-world decisions?” by clicking on the link.

It’s all about how to apply the stacks and stacks of data your business has on file to real-life decisions. Which is what CAN is all about: using your data to help you. It may seem an overwhelming task, but CAN’s data scientists love challenges. Read over this article and let us know if you think we can help you with your data needs.

Contact Nate Watson at support@canworksmart.com.


Related

Why will CAN stay in Omaha?

on May 23

Check out Data Science Central

on May 11

Last month, TechBus interviewed our very own President, Nate Watson. TechBus is an Omaha-based group that posts bi-weekly interviews about local businesses and new technology.

This video is everything you’ve ever wanted to know about CAN: who we are, what we do, how we’re related to the Data Science Academy, and how our staff augmentation model works. It’s a great way to get a glimpse into CAN for those who may be interested in contracting us, being employed by us, or being taught by us at the Oma-DSA.

To schedule a phone call with our very own Nate Watson, send us an e-mail at nate@canworksmart.com.


Related

Why will CAN stay in Omaha?

on May 23

Check out Data Science Central

on May 11

Here at CAN our free-time is spent researching the latest trends in and facts about data science. In a skim of Tableau Public, we found this fascinating visualization about women in tech. Tableau Public is a platform to post data visualizations made with Tableau. You don’t have to be a data expert to share a visualization, you just have to be excited about data.

With this particular visualization, you can see how many fewer women receive tech-related degrees than men. As women are quickly overtaking men in educational status, it’s more important than ever to attract their attention to the opportunities of the tech world. We at CAN believe in giving a real-life data science education to all who want to pursue it. That’s why we created the Omaha Data Science Academy with Interface Web School. Sound like something you’d like to know more about? Check out more information here.


Related

Why will CAN stay in Omaha?

on May 23

Check out Data Science Central

on May 11
Matt Hoover Dynamo

Check out the video below of one of our data scientists and Director of Data Visualization Matt Hoover giving a tour of the The Startup Collaborative. Matt was interviewed by Omaha tech company Dynamo. Dynamo is a new kind of IT consulting and recruiting agency that is based on an understanding of who companies actually need — valuing people and culture fit over transactions and placement fees.

Dynamo + Matt Hoover from Brody Deren on Vimeo.

CAN HQ @ The Exchange Building

In the video you’ll watch Matt as he shows off the Omaha Startup Collaborative’s coworking space at the Exchange Building, learn a little about the Omaha Data Science Academy, and see up close footage of CAN’s headquarters. Matt also mentions his newest project involving March Madness, Creighton basketball, Tableau, and statistics. Sound intriguing? Find out more here.


Related

Why will CAN stay in Omaha?

on May 23

Check out Data Science Central

on May 11

We found this article on Interface’s blog. We thought it was an awesome story about how Interface’s web school turned a busy woman’s career around. Despite obstacles of daily life, Miranda Tharp jump-started a web development career.

DSC_4754-300x300

To read the full article about, click here.

Interface partnered with CAN at the end of last year to create The Omaha Data Science Academy. With a certificate from the Data Science Academy, skilled professionals can boost their resumes with additional real life experience.


Related

Machine Learning Upset Prediction Project Proves its Value

on March 27

10 Questions to Ask Before Buying Sales Leads

on April 7, 2014
The Tableau data visualization above, found at Tableau Public, shows the “Top 100 Songs of All Time Lyrics”. Click here to hover over each square and see what words were used in which lyrics. Tableau is a software that converts data into graphs, charts, and images.

 

CAN’s data scientists love sorting through piles and piles of spreadsheets and numerical data, but it’s not for everyone. There are some amazing tools that convert raw data into visualizations. They help bring out the story of data, so everyone can understand it.

Here’s an old favorite from our blog about the importance of visualization. It’s a way for us at CAN to gear up for the next round of Tableau students at the Omaha Data Science Academy!

We are still accepting applicants for the third round of the Oma-DSA! You can apply here. We accept applications until three weeks before the start date, and start a waiting list after the spots are filled. 

 

Why Visualizing Data is Important


Related

The Advantage of Hiring an Hourly Data Scientist

on January 18

Insurance Premiums Relative to Health by State

on May 15, 2014

Contemporary Analysis 2017 ebook coming soon!

In celebration of CAN’s forthcoming 10th birthday, we’ve decided to bring out the best ideas from our blog and combine them into an educational ebook. The posts were originally written by some of CAN’s most notable alumni, many of whom have gone on to start their own businesses in data science.

At CAN, we are all about education. We believe in educating our employees through hands on experience and through courses offered at the Data Science Academy. We also believe in educating our clients about who we are and what we do. We want our clients to understand the systems we put in place. We’re proud of our work. What follows is a six step model on how to implement data, taken from our new ebook to be released soon. We hope you enjoy it, and learn something too.

 

CAN’s Best Practices for Implementing Data Science

  1. Define a company’s mission, vision, and values. We want to know how they do business; what values they have that are unique and permanent even when the strategy changes. This understanding set the priorities and filters that guide future discussions.
  2. Define a company’s goals. Goals have clear beginnings and ends and typically are accomplished in less than a year. Goals should be in alignment with the company’s vision for the future, and should be accomplished in a way that adheres to the company’s values.
  3. Define the business question to be answered. The business question is about business process improvement, and should not involve technology or research questions. When answered a business questions should have a noticeable impact on at least one of the three parts of a business; sales, operations and administrative support.
  4. Determine what resources are available. This includes political approval, availability of necessary data, and determining research methodology.
  5. Determine how the models will be implemented. Formal Reports help our clients understand the nuances and details of our research. Marketing Summaries provide our clients with colorful and easy to understand summaries of our research.Visual Dashboards help our clients quickly get the up to date information that need to run their operations. Workflow Integration provides our clients with the ability to use our research to impact the activities and operations of large number of people through the systems they are currently using.
  6. Evaluate the model. Does the model answer the intended business question? Does the model produce results that reflect reality? Does the model produce the expected results?

 

Keep your eyes out for our new ebook. For more information and great ideas, contact Nate Watson (nate@canworksmart.com) or Bridget Lillethorup (bridget@canworksmart.com). 


Related

A Celebration of CAN’s Best Ideas

on February 11

Insurance Premiums Relative to Health by State

on May 15, 2014

Any person you hire for your team is an investment. You take careful steps to ensure their fit in the company. You go the extra mile to ensure their skills translate as perfectly as possible to the position you seek to be filled.

Most companies, unfortunately, do not understand the complications of hiring a data scientist. No two data scientists have the same skill set. And there’s not a specific “attitude” associated with data scientists. Personalities range quite drastically. Therefore, you can’t simply choose a “data scientist” and trust that he or she will fit with your company. It’s different than hiring a salesperson or HR representative.

 

So, before you invest in hiring a full time data scientist for your medium to large sized business, there are more than a few things you need to consider.

 

Contemporary Analysis (CAN) offers another option to fill your data analytics needs. We offer a full analysis of your company to determine the projects that will improve your areas of need. We lend you one of our data scientists to use hourly until the projects are over. Less strings attached, less money, higher ROI.

 

Let’s first explore the scenario of hiring a data scientist blindly, and see where it takes this hypothetical company.

 

Scenario 1: Hiring a data scientist full time

 

Perhaps you are the manager of a local bank. You’ve grown significantly in the past 10 years, and you know you have enough data to start analyzing trends with your clients. You’ve noticed that at least three customers drop their services every month, and you wonder if a data scientist could provide an answer to stop this trend.

 

The first step, you believe, is to hire a full time data analyst as part of your team. You write up a short job description and send it out to the hiring sites.

 

Someone with a Master’s degree in data science doesn’t accept a position for less than $100,000/year. Along with $25,000 in benefits, this is quite the price tag. You may understand this and accept it begrudgingly as the only option.

 

What you may not realize, however, is that it takes you about 6 months to find someone with a Master’s in data science and relevant work experience. Then it takes your bank about 3 months to train him in. And finally, 3 months after he is trained in, he builds a software useful to your company.

 

That’s a year from the time you posted the job before you see any kind of ROI, and by then you’ve spent half of a year’s salary on this person.

 

The expenses for hiring and training a data scientist are immense, but there are more than just monetary issues with hiring a data scientist full time. Here is the short list of things you need to consider before you hire full time:

 

  • Not all data scientists will like your company.  Just because someone is qualified on paper doesn’t mean they fit well with your company’s community. At $125,000/year and with 6 months needed before ROI, do you want to take that risk? Personality clash is a real threat.
  • No two data scientists have the same sets of skills. That’s right. “Data science” is a loose term meaning an interdisciplinary field about scientific processes and systems to extract knowledge or insights from data in various forms.” Interdisciplinary is the key word here. Some data scientists may be trained in specific softwares, others may have not even heard of it. When you lock yourself into one person, you may be losing out on knowledges beyond his education.
  • How do you know you need a data scientist? Without experts to examine your needs, are you sure the hire is worth the investment? Perhaps figuring out why your bank is dropping clients every month will only take about a month, but you’ve hired someone indefinitely. What other work will you find for him?

 

There are other options. Consider hiring an hourly data scientist through CAN.  Let’s explore the benefits below.

 

Scenario 2: Work with Contemporary Analysis

 

A Case Study from CAN

CAN has worked with several Fortune 500 companies. In one instance, one of these companies needed assistance creating a software that could predict the failure of telecommunication huts. Loss of several huts slows service to customers, which ends up a nightmare for the finance team.

 

The scope of the project was large: 2,500 telecommunication huts over the Western United States. Over 500 of these locations were in fairly remote areas, making them hard to reach. The scope of this project may have been enough to convince the company that they needed to hire a full-time data scientist, but instead, they saw the benefits of working with CAN.

 

The result? CAN set up a weekly survey process for employees at each station, covering 12 potential problem areas.  

 

The data collected from these services was used to create a “survival model” for each roof. CAN set up a system for predictive analytics with this Fortune 500 company over an established period of time, then made sure the system was self sufficient and did not rely on CAN’s constant attention.

 

With work complete, the company paid CAN and CAN moved on to new projects. Always available for advice, CAN remains a tool for that company, but not at a cost of $125,000/year.

The benefits of using Contemporary Analysis to hire an hourly data scientist

 

To save time and money, and increase productivity, consider these benefits of using CAN for your data science needs.

 

  • With CAN, you can hire a data scientist that fits the skill level needed to attain your goals. If you need someone trained in Tableau, then you get someone with that training. With CAN, there is no risk of a learning curve with your hire.
  • Hiring a part time data scientist means you’re not locked into one set of skills. In a similar vein, when your needs change, instead of paying to train your full time hire, CAN simply assigns a new person to the job. This gives you a bigger skill set advantage.
  • No 6 month hiring process. No training. No wallet-bursting budget. No issues with HR. CAN can write up a proposal for your needs in as little as two weeks, and work starts immediately upon signing the contract. Work starts on Monday, not 6 months from Monday.
  • You will see an ROI in 30 days or less. We at CAN works fast and effectively. It’s our job. Once our systems are in place, you see immediate results. Before you would have a job description for a full time position on your site, CAN will have created analytic software.
  • You don’t need to worry about keeping your full time data scientist busy. Once the project is over, it’s over. You don’t need to worry about filling someone’s time or wasting money on little work.
  • You data scientist won’t quit! A part-time data scientist will do his work and fulfill his duties. You won’t have any surprise 2 week notices in your office.

 

Perhaps you believe your data science needs are great, and you still believe full time is the way to go. Before you plummet down this expensive road, give us a call. If anything, we can give you an analysis of how great your needs are, and you can make a decision from there.

 

For more success stories, see CAN’s website for more case studies at http://canworksmart.com/case-study/.


Related

Why will CAN stay in Omaha?

on May 23

Check out Data Science Central

on May 11

The first run of the Omaha Data Science Academy proved successful. Already 4 of the 6 graduates have found jobs in a related field. Silicon Prairie News found this noteworthy and published an article about it here.

Silicon Prairie News is a newsroom and community forum focused on start-ups in the Great Plains/MidWest region. Silicon Prairie is a venture of AIM, a non-profit organization centered around building community through technology.

For some information on the Oma-DSA, contact nate@canworksmart.com.



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