A Mountain to (Data) Mine

Imagine seeing a mountain sprout from the ground over a few years behind your office. Now imagine some of the globally leading geologists knocking on your door and telling you that a mountain of that type had a 99% likelihood of containing large amounts of gold and diamonds (yes yes, just work with me, this has a point). I’m pretty sure you’d rush out and hire some of the finest miners in existence to get that out of there.

Yet replace “mountain” with “data” and I’d wager that many of you work in places where pure data mining/analysis is left to a small team (if any) of randomly placed people, sometimes from IT, sometimes from marketing, usually junior. And this despite case after case after case after … you get the point … demonstrates the value of having a full and working insight into the huge amounts of data that everyone is amassing.

As you may have noticed if you’ve read any of my other posts here, a fair bit is concentrated around understanding and using the data which is available. Yet many of the companies I speak to don’t have dedicated resources to properly dig this information out.

The main reason for this is usually simple: it costs money. Yes, that’s very true. You need a team of highly skilled people to do this, and they aren’t free.

So your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to work out how much a team like that need to claw back, from a revenue perspective. And then you can take on some people and make them in essence pay for their own fare. And if they save you more than they cost you, it’s all good. And they will.

If you give them the chance. To be successful, that team also needs to be able to move across silos and teams to ensure that they have access to all the data that exists and not just what’s convenient, and then to be able to disseminate it and have it actioned at all levels too.

Because let’s face it: your competitors have a similar mountain in their back garden. And while the mountain doesn’t cost you anything to just have out back (unless property taxes go up, but let’s leave politics out of this), if all your competitors are mining their mountains, then they’ll end up with a much bigger pile of gold and diamonds than you have. Which puts you at a significant disadvantage. So, can you afford not to mine?