Ask Not...

Fifty years ago today (January 20, 1961), U.S. President John F. Kennedy (a.k.a. JFK) implored Americans to: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country!"

Today I'm here to implore all you Data Geeks out there to
"Ask not what you can do for your data. Ask what your data can do for you!"

Backwards? You might think so but I'm thinking it's time we take a moment to reflect on the good things our data could and should be doing for us, instead of constantly worrying ourselves with what we need to be doing. Yes, I've told you to "fill your data's bucket" in the past and yes, I'm sure all your days at the office are as nuts as mine, but I think we all need to sit back and reflect on not only the operational view of what we are doing, but we need to figure out where we're heading with all this work and effort.

Are there neat things your organization's data can do for you and your organization which it isn't doing today? Can your data be exposed or analyzed in a different way? Can you aggregate it and sell it to new clients? Can you benefit in any new way from your data?

We need to remember that we're performing all this effort so that the organizations who are paying our paychecks benefit, we're not doing it just to say we're doing it. How is this effort bringing value to our organizations and how can our data add more value? Amazon's got their data working for them, is your data working for you?

Until next time...Rich


Anonymous said…
Inspirational post, Rich.

I think one of the reasons some organizations do not view their data as a corporate asset is because they see the high costs of data management as having too little benefits.

As data management professionals, we do tend to focus on what we can do for our data, and not what our data can do for us -- and for the business needs of our organization.

To those who might find your call to action too daunting, I offer more words from JFK:

“The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need people who can dream of things that never were and ask Why Not?