Jo and I decided to set up Data Monsters after a visit to SQLBits in April this year. It's one of the friendliest conferences out there, it's informative, in-depth and fun. But it's missing the Data Monsters.
So what's a Data Monster?
For us, a Data Monster isn't a SQL head or a data scientist or a programmer. She's not a BA, or a product owner. She's a questioner. Someone who feels blind without having the commercial information needed to make decisions. She's usually the difficult one in meetings, sitting at the back and challenging the team to ensure they're basing their decisions on evidence. She's commonly the one most likely to say "I don't know, but let me go ask my SQL coder friend in the data team and she'll find out for me." Data Monsters can be found all over a business - and truly great businesses seek them out, recognise them and promote them. They're the ones who won't blunder into a choice, just because it feels right. They are commercially savvy, customer focused and relentlessly driven by results. We think they're awesome.
Why are they needed?
In our careers to date we've found that the technical people - the SQL Developers, BI Specialists and Data Managers - are usually kept out of the commercial teams and decisions. They're usually working on long term data migration or warehouse projects, managed under Prince II processes. These projects are frequently delivered late - if at all - and because of the processes involved, deliver value slowly. Business Analysts are often the only link with the commercial goals. If the BA on the project isn't a Data Monster, we can almost guarantee the project won't deliver on its goals.
The commercial teams, meanwhile, get increasingly frustrated. Marketers make decisions in isolation - without access to the broader data sources around the business. Finance teams are irritated because nothing reconciles. Senior managers aren't happy because the seven figure project they authorised didn't deliver on its promises, leaving teams to be cut back, and developers to be made redundant.
Even in more "Agile" teams, or in smaller businesses, where teams are co-located, the true value of the data is often not realised. We've seen multi-million pound companies unable to tell us who their most profitable customers are, and PLCs with eight figure marketing budgets not know the ROI.
This needs to change.
How can we help?
We believe passionately in the power of data for business growth. Our combined 30+ years of experience in commercial marketing, product strategy, business intelligence and software development means we're in a perfect position to bridge the gap between the commercial requirements of a business, and its technical function - whether that is in-house, offshore, or outsourced.
We'll work with your business teams to understand their immediate needs, and where we can add value quickly. Whether that's a series of questions you need answers to, or a report on what's possible, we'll deliver that first. Once the value is proven, we'll work with you on medium term requirements (anything long term isn't sensible).
We can deliver this work ourselves, using our associate consultants, or we can partner as advisors to your internal teams. We're completely flexible - our key driver is your success.
Unleash the Data Monsters
We'd love to hear about your data challenges!