/ Why you need to understand the new dynamics of data

There’s no doubt that this year has been a year of data. It’s been a year of analytics, a year of decisions, and a year of considerable change, too. Some of us are doing reasonably well with all of it, while others are struggling.

How can organizations in the latter group make better use of data? How can they leverage it to not only meet their customers’ expectations, but go above and beyond the call of duty? And why is it in their best interest to be shopkeepers of data instead of gatekeepers of data?

Those were among the questions data and analytics expert Donald Farmer posed to John Mellor and Angie Schulke in The New Dynamics of Data, the second episode in a Domo-sponsored video series called CURIOSITY that explores why now is the time to “do” data differently.

As Domo’s chief strategy officer, John answered many of the questions by sharing stories of how Domo or Domo customers have addressed the various obstacles 2020 has presented.

“I think it’s helpful to start with the business objectives, because data is a little bit like a wander through the woods,” he said. “It’s like when we made Domopalooza 2020 a virtual event. The metrics we had to look at changed drastically, but the objectives were still pretty consistent.

“I also believe that the ability to bring data in, regardless of its source, and combine it is key to creating a modern business. (Vehicle repair and maintenance provider) Pep Boys is a great example. A few months back, someone there had the idea of taking information that was available to each store but was just kind of sitting on the digital shelf—such as how many rings customers had to endure before their calls were answered—and connecting it to the bigger picture. That’s what we call ‘dark data,’ and they used it to their advantage.”

For Angie, who is the vice president of analytics for North American health club chain Life Time, Inc., the new dynamics of data are forcing her to think more creatively. They are also enabling organizations to arrive at answers “completely different from what we thought we’d get,” she said, and opening the door wider to self-service, which satisfies individual curiosity and allows businesses to stay ahead of the competition.

John agreed that empowering people with data is important because “it becomes an accelerant in business,” and added that if there’s one thing he’s taken away from these past eight or nine months it’s the need to be more flexible.

“How we interact with and support customers has been turned on its head,” he said, “but systems that allow for agility—and the personal agility you bring to those systems—has been the magic.”

To become more flexible—especially if you’re the type that likes or needs structure—it’s important to recognize that collaboration and communication can be massively helpful tools, Angie said.

Donald wrapped the hour-long conversation by echoing that opinion, and revealing what he discovered from serving as the moderator.

“Yes, we’re all about data, and data-driven decisions, but even more so we’re about collaboration and communication,” he said. “We’re about these very human elements. It’s about how we work together, whether it’s empathy for the user or customer, or collaboration within a team, even in this world of advanced technology. Our human skills are absolutely vital to our success.”

To get more of the trio’s individual perspectives on the new dynamics of data—including the role analytics must play, and the reason a simple software development rule called “Dude’s Law” (yes, the name was inspired by the main character in The Big Lebowski) factors so prominently into the equation—watch or listen to the second episode in the CURIOSITY series here.

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