Part 1

Good organisations don’t talk about it, they just do it.

Or why Netflix and Deliveroo are not the data heroes you might think they are.

All companies appear somewhere on the data maturity curve. All on a ‘journey’ towards ever more innovative use of their own or other people’s data.

We hear much about the ‘heroes’ of data who are busy vacuuming up hoards of consumer behaviour data-points to manipulate it to their advantage: Deliveroo, Netflix, LinkedIn, Facebook, to name but a few. Are they all at the top of the data maturity curve, or do they have weaknesses? Who is ahead of them on the curve? Which organisations do not attract so much media attention, but attract the world’s most inventive data scientists (or mathematicians, as they would previously have been labelled).

Who are today’s true innovators?

Aside from the high-profile tech companies that attract headlines, as with the life cycle of all companies, it’s likely that these companies as they get bigger and more corporate, they have a slowing rate at which they discover patterns or insights that they can use to create economic advantage. The law of the jungle says there are probably smaller, more market savvy innovators coming along right behind them. These new innovators are discovering data sources and alternative methods to extract the data, transform and model it to create new business models. We have now undergone a commoditisation of data manipulation tools and these new companies are exploiting their data sources at very low process overheads. Their value creation is in the mathematical models they build.

If data is today’s business commodity, what’s tomorrow’s?

What is common amongst these ‘start-ups’ and the corporate upper-performers on the data maturity curve, is that they don’t talk about ‘data’ much. Instead, they talk about speed; the speed at which you can test just about any idea, question or hypothesis to iteratively improve your organisation’s mission; whether it is discovering new commonalities in genome sequence data or delivering your pizza with more value, ingredients or speed.

What do the rising business superstars obsess over?

Whether you dislike the ‘agile’ label or whether you completely buy-in to the concepts of rapid, iterative innovation, this speed comes from fast-moving, value-focused business practices. My opinion is that the organisations that exploit data effectively, are as likely to NOT talk about being agile as they are likely to NOT talk about data. What they will talk about is the customers; what the customer wants, and responds to, what the customer is interested in and the purpose of the value proposition the organisation delivers to its’ customers.

Practice your memory muscle to stay competitive

Am I really saying that agile and data are unimportant concepts? No, I’m saying the opposite; that they are so critical, they have to be memory-muscle and when an organisation is good at using the principles, it no longer talks of them. That’s a differentiator of the good, the bad and the ugly on the data maturity curve.