Make sense of the data – but how?
When you’ve been in the business world for 30 years, you have a long enough view to start to see trends.
When I arrived in the recruitment world in the mid-90s, most people didn’t have mobiles. We sent CVs by fax. And the majority of IT departments reported into finance.
These days, that reporting line is vanishingly rare. Technology is seen as a vital business function in its own right: at the very least an enabler, at its best a core advantage. It’s been said that every company is an IT company now.
But of course that doesn’t mean that corporate structures are settled for good. It’s been fascinating over the last few years to watch the evolution of the Data function. To make sense of the Data if you like.
Within most businesses, data still lives in the IT domain. And that makes sense; without significant technology investment it’s hard to capture, manipulate and benefit from data.
But increasingly, data is becoming a business function of its own. I met a major financial services business last week whose Data Team is a standalone function with no connection to IT except as a facilitator.
And that, too, makes sense. It might be said that every company is a data company now. I imagine that trend will continue and ultimately it will seem faintly ridiculous that data ever existed as a part of IT.
But what’s interesting for us is how that impacts the shape of a company’s team, and what they’re hiring for.
We work with our customers to help them with business problems and opportunities, by finding people with technical and commercial capability to address them. Increasingly, that “technical” capability looks like an in depth understanding of data in and of itself, not just data technology.
So Data Architecture is vital. Data Governance is a crucial element of any team. But those roles are focussed on the management of data. Increasingly companies are asking – what data do we need? What data is available? What data do we lack, how can we best assess and audit our data, what insights could we find that we are currently missing?
And the people who can answer those questions are worth their weight in gold.
So our customers are grappling with big, business changing questions about structure and value. They are having to think about how to drive change – whether to hire egg breakers who move fast and engage in creative destruction, or omelette makers who nurture change in business culture and move organisations more organically towards a data led future.
As always, businesses have questions. And they need the people who can help them find the answers.
And that’s where we come in. We find the people who provide technological solutions to business problems.
They can make sense of the data and read the room.