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Newbies to Data & Analytics... It's Still People That Matter



To make your introduction, I am David. I like to fish…a lot! I am “not technical” and by that, I mean I struggle with the simplest of tasks on a phone, computer, or any electronic device. I feel much more comfortable on a boat outside than on a laptop. I don’t write code, nor do I know all the ins-outs of data lakes, etc. And I am Alison. Before now, the most data I worked with was player stats on my fantasy football team or the under/over on my 3-year-old waking up in the middle of the night. My comfort zone is navigating fantasy sports and family dynamics. But we’re both people who believe in growth, and we believe that growth comes from challenges and changes. We now work with some of the foremost thinkers and practitioners for data!


Recently, we were discussing how intimidating the data world can be. We were thinking, “this seems so hard; how will I ever get any of this?” This thought has many others that come soon after, such as, “I sure am dumb”, “do they think I understand any of this?” or worst yet, “how does any of this apply to a business and what is the valuable use of these?”


As OBV’ers we wanted to share a non-technical perspective about the data & analytics space from people who are brand new. People who know fishing and fantasy sports, not the critical steps in cloud migrations and data governance., As we’ve started to learn some of the vernacular and industry goals, we’ve attended a few recent conferences with Snowflake, and some virtual events about data governance. While we didn’t get everything, we did get some clear industry trends and a few key take-a-ways.

 

These include some clear industry observations:


  • Modernizing the data stack is happening & ripe for complexity.

  • Every company wants to make data an asset.

  • Companies are trying to use unique disparate tools and make solutions connected.

  • Everyone seems to seek collaboration but defining collaboration & holding people accountable is hard.

  • Data Governance is important & challenging - it seems to be an aspirational goal for most.

  • Company leaders are striving to do more with data and solutions while trying to lower costs [in general but especially with a recession brewing in the middle of budget season].


Our $.10 on what this means from a lay person’s insight:


  • There are many tools and processes available out there, but ultimately, getting a strategic understanding of the situation and the goals is what’s most important. Then actually staying the course. The hard part is communication & coordination.

  • Your goals must be clear & actionable. Otherwise, it’s like trying to herd cats.

  • Nothing that matters is easy. We would all love to eat vegetables and exercise daily. But the truth is, we usually fall short of it – because it’s hard. Don’t let a small setback ruin your end goal. Pick each other up and keep going.

 

Even though companies continually struggle with data, analytics, and more detailed processes, it is nice to see the root challenges are just the people. We all know these struggles. For David, fishing is a constant process of navigating weather, expectations and not falling into old habits of thinking “this worked before”. For Alison, dealing with a 3-year old and competitive fantasy sports is sometimes like batting blind – you never know the mood, meltdown, injury, or bug you may encounter, but it’s all about trusting the process and those around you.


Whether that be in a Fortune 500 tech company or the small mom & pop shop down the street, we all need people for things to run smoothly and successfully. We can all use the support of coaches and mentors. While assimilating into the data space can be challenging, it’s also reassuring for us to remember, it’s all about the people. After all, we all want the same thing, to get that big fish or win – in fantasy and reality.

 

If you are trying to think through some of these processes for your organization, reach out to us. We, Alison & David, can be people & process sounding boards. And if you have digital hurdles to examine, we know some of the very best SMEs in the world!


David Reinarz | LinkedIn

Alison Hall | LinkedIn


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