Dirty Data, Done Dirt Cheap

Let’s start with a trick question. What type of company is Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, Alibaba or Tencent? If you answered ‘data’, you are ahead of the curve in understanding new business models.

In 2017, The Economist declared “the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data”. In 2020 just Facebook, Alphabet, Apple and Amazon have market capitalisation of $US5 trillion, with revenues of US$773 billion.

Alone, data is not much use to anyone except boffins. These data companies, and smart organisations across the globe, are demonstrating that activated data provides insights that drive better decisions. We are hearing leaders and voters demanding better information, nowhere has this been more evident that keeping the community informed during COVID.

Are you ready? Be honest. If not, it is okay, you can start now with small steps.

In our experience, the essential first step is doing some boring bits. No matter if you are in government, not for profit, or private entities these bits include—clear data governance, capability uplift at all levels, structured coordination mechanisms, clear and repeatable business processes, supporting architecture, communication across the data value chain and supporting these with the right mix of tools (applications and infrastructure).

Doing nothing is always an option, but this will cement some of the consistent challenges we are seeing in the activation of data. Again, reflecting on practical experiences, these challenges include siloed and single channel thinking, systemic data illiteracy, bootstrapped approaches from legacy systems, key person and ‘need to know’ approaches, and fragmented policies and practices.

Action is happening around Australia. We are seeing many local governments thinking big about their approach to data, changes in infrastructure towards cloud options, transitions from traditional to digital interfaces and, of course, the emergence of smart city data being used to drive decisions.

One word of warning. There is absolutely, positively, no single silver bullet to fix all your data challenges. There is a universe of approaches that sound great, but they still need to be driven by the needs of your whole organisations—single product decisions without the boring bits may conflate the challenges you already have.

Taking steps towards an activated data system, to underpin better decisions and inform your customers will keep you lockstep with emerging market trends, potentially lower the cost of service delivery and build a beautiful relationship with your customers.

Reach out for a conversation if you are ready to take some steps but don’t know where to start. We would love to be a partner in your modernisation.