Mo’ Data, Mo’ Problems

Lessons in B.I.G. data from a rap legend.

Written by Grant Wernick, CEO of Insight Engines

“I don’t know what they want from me

It’s like the more data we come across

The more problems we see”

~inspired by “Mo Money Mo Problems[1]

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Photo: Clarence Davis/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Rapper Biggie Smalls has been on a lot of people’s minds lately. The 2017 Netflix documentary Unsolved renewed interest in his still-mysterious murder; Brooklyn last month named Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace Boulevard; and each night across America Hamilton performers belt out references to Biggie’s lyrical genius. Of course, there’s the ever-raging internet debate about the best rappers of all time, too (for my money, no. 8 is a crime).

Biggie’s 1997 album Life After Death featured the hit single “Mo Money Mo Problems” that eloquently brought to light the downside of financial success. Which got me thinking: today’s organizations are feeling the same kind of heat. Only, their currency is data.

More data does, indeed, create more problems. For starters, there are the expensive storage service fees for all that data you store but will never use. Then, the extra costs of keeping that data secure and compliant. Despite that, there’s still the added risk of a breach on that overflow of mostly useless data. And, of course, with that comes the magnified legal — not to mention public relations — risk to your company.

I drew inspiration from other B.I.G. lyrics, too.

Now I’m in the limelight ’cause my insights are tight — ~inspired by “Juicy[2]

What’s the purpose of data? To extract insights of value to your company. But not all data accomplishes this goal; hoarding data weighs you down. Data is a necessity, a means to an end. Insights are what you’re after, because the right ones can differentiate you from your competition and make you stand out.

To all the data in the place with style and grace — ~inspired by “Big Poppa[3]

Know your use cases first, before setting up your data onboarding process so that you can organize and extract valuable insights from day one. Use the data with style and grace to make your operation run smoothly. Don’t drop coin on data you don’t need. Stack the rest of the data you may need later somewhere cheap, in an organized fashion, and make sure that’s it’s easily accessible.

Throw your hands in the air, if you’re a transparency player — inspired by “Big Poppa[4]

Make access to insights available to everyone across the organization, regardless of technical skills. Marketing, finance, human resources, and all other departments can benefit from your company’s data insights — provided you’re getting the right ones. Data transparency means that everyone — not just one or two people in IT — can access and understand data so they can do their jobs better. It opens up a new world of possibilities.

So much insight need oxygen, steadily countin’ them Benjamins -inspired by Notorious Thugs[5]

Once you make getting insights about the specific problems you want to solve the center piece of your data strategy, you’ll save stacks of money on storage and discover insights that you never knew were there.

Mo’ data, mo’ problems. It’s true. But there are ways to be strategic about collecting and storing data that allows you to concentrate on the endgame: what data you need, why you need it, and how you plan to use it. Adopt an insights-driven methodology and you’ll be singing along with Biggie:

“It’s all good, baby baby.”

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

[1] Original Lyrics:

“I don’t know what they want from me

It’s like the more money we come across

The more problems we see”

[2] Original Lyrics:

“Now I’m in the limelight ’cause I rhyme tight”

[3] Original Lyrics:

“To all the ladies in the place with style and grace”

[4] Original Lyrics:

“Throw your hands in the air, if you’s a true player”

[5] Original Lyrics:

“So much smoke need oxygen, steadily countin’ them Benjamins”

Written by

Thoughts on the changing landscape of security/IT/cloud, creating startups and thinking differently. CEO/Co-Founder Insight Engines:

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