September 28, 2011
Their challenge is likely similar to yours: What do you do with all the data you are capturing, storing and analyzing? If you don't do something with data, it's just an expense line item, after all. In his book, Information Masters, John McKean talks about the importance of people skills and human technology in making the leap from Data Rich to Customer Smarts.
It starts with sharing the data, especially with your value chain and in many cases, your competitors (think of them as Competimates in this regard). Why? Because the data isn't by itself really useful, but in the hands of the distribution channel, it may bounce back as knowledge. Becoming a smarter company via data isn't just listening and learning, because you are still in a bubble when you do this - there's no perspective!
The first step, then, is to boldly share the data outside your enterprise. By letting go of the data, you are making the first step in letting go of the Scarcity Mindset and the SQ. Don't sweat this, because you data in many cases is worthless UNTIL it makes the leap to knowledge (what Eric Ries in Lean Startup calls 'verified learning').
While knowledge is better than raw data, it's the insight you glean from it that connects with your Customer-Value model that truly moves the needle on your business. That's the stuff to hold on to, not your crummy data.
Whether you are looking at web/blog/social analytics or supply/customer data, you need to make the move today - and test my theory out. To borrow a phrase from the Quality Movement, 'waste is any commitment of resources that fails to create Customer value.' So what's your data? A storage plan or your barter for biz wizdom?