Almost 20 years ago, a British mathematician and entrepreneur in the field of data science stated that “Data is the new oil.” At the time, it was a very provocative statement. These days, this quote rings true and has largely been validated.
Oil contributes to economic results. In raw form, oil is messy and for the most part unusable. However, when it is refined into a usable product, it generates value. Its various forms of processing are what gives it power. Like oil, data must be organized, processed and analyzed to support business decision making and enhance customer service, marketing, innovation and business strategy.
Oil helped to power the industrial nations of the 19th and 20th centuries. Data is a significant power behind the successful economies of the 21st century. Tech firms such as Google, Microsoft, Meta, SAP, and Salesforce have become integrated into business operations of many organizations by helping to gather and leverage data to operate their business. Inside of their own companies, these tech firms leverage data to not only to operate their business, but to drive their entire business model.
Data is powering a variety of industries. Retail, entertainment, finance, government, farming, sports, shipping and more. The most successful results are found in companies that have embedded being data-driven into their culture and proactively governing and make use of their data to provide them with key competitive insights.
Those who controlled oil in the 20th century gained disproportionate power. This could also be considered as a competitive advantage. Not all of these results were fortunate however, resulting in economic and political missteps. Dominance of your organizations data should not be held by an external entity. While you might need a system or tool to organize your data, only you can determine the insights that it will provide.
Take time to learn more about data. Use it to determine root causes for abnormalities. Use it to determine what trends your customers are displaying. Explore what methods of marketing are the most impactful. See what processes can be adjusted in order to enhance your profitability. Determine where in the organization you would like to run more efficiently, problem solve, or to unleash more competitive power, and start there.