You know that adage about information being power? It sure can be. But it can be less grand than that too — information can just as easily be a successful project, a new client, or an improved business relationship. Whether you have BIG, big, or just a little bit of data, if you’re not actively working to wrangle and use your data, then you’re losing any advantages it might have to offer.
If that sounds trite, then I’d invite you to take a moment and think about all of the information your organization has — customer profiles, orders, contracts and agreements, web traffic, marketing tools, fundraising records, tax and compliance data, and social media interactions. Now consider any partners who have similar or complementary information that could be useful in your next project. Finally, ask yourself how much of that information you have access to… is it where it needs to be, all together, wrapped up with a nice, usable bow on top?
Somehow the cycle of identifying requirements, getting and positioning data for use, and finally using it seems to go horribly, painfully wrong. It veers off course, careening down the Mountain of Email and through the Caves of Misunderstanding before landing in the Valley of Endless
Night Meetings. And this exciting adventure happens with surprising frequency.
But we have tools and strategies to help!
We can use the Socratic method in the data world (its own upcoming post!). We can take advantage of open source tools… and contribute back to the community. We can work through management problems that must be attacked with vigor: vendor/platform lock-in, skills debt, and “this is the way we’ve always done it”.
If you’re interested in the big and small picture when it comes to putting data to use for success on the job, then I invite you to follow this series, and let me know your thoughts and reactions! By the end of the series, I hope you and I will both be better equipped to Collect, Discover, Analyze, and Guard your data.
Written by Jeremy Woodworth
Knowledge Manager, Linguist, Data Ninja, Technology Enthusiast