Many times dating has been stated as the perfect analogy to doing business. Why? There are many similarities when it comes to finding the right partner in life and in business. After all, dating is hard; you are trying to find someone with common goals, values, vision and interests and the same holds true for finding the right business partner. You not only have to figure out what it is you want in a partner and be clear about it but you also need to know what it is you bring to the table. And how do you know when you find “The One?” They say you ‘just know.’ In the dating world you might be willing to negotiate on certain qualities if the other party has so many of the other qualities that you find important. Unfortunately when it comes to finding the right partner for your data commercialization strategy there are a few qualifications you can’t overlook. And since data commercialization and monetization are so new, people may not even know the basic criterion to start with when looking for a partner. DMI was recently interviewed for Forrester Research’s November, 2014 Report “Find A Date To The Data Dance,” on this topic. Here are the key points as mentioned by Forrester on what to look for:
- “Knowledge and understanding of the data economy.
- Understanding of regulatory environments.
- Strong data capabilities and business intelligence understanding.
- Product development expertise.
- A portfolio of existing customers.
- Understanding and knowledge of how to market a “data product.”
- Specific industry expertise.”
Just like in any good relationship, people don’t just want love, they want passion, understanding, vision and a good track record. They want to find a partner who pretty much sees a potential future the way they do and looks for complementary qualities to create a more valuable whole. In a similar vein, enterprises don’t just want data, they want insights and you need to find a partner who can not only see your vision clearly but can help you create value out of the data that you bring. In the same way, in business as in romance, it is a good idea to date before getting married. While it may be tempting to dive head in when you’re “in love” with what you hear, you’re better off taking a little time to test-drive the partnership.
One way to do this is by working on a a project or a proof of concept to get started. Many organizations are now deciding to run a POC before committing to a full-fledged roll out of a new technology or initiative. It is common practice for us to take one manageable representative sample or use case and build out a solution to deliver value across multiple business functions in a shorter amount of time. We practice and encourage this with all of our clients as a part of our “courting” period. This way you don’t have to take on the whole of a project, which can sometimes take upwards of a year, and still get value, insight and knowledge out of the sample as well as see how you and your partner work together along the way.
For example, in case of one of the nation’s largest payment processors, we helped them leverage their data in such a way that they were able to launch a separate product to offer as part of their portfolio. What started out as a proof-of-concept was turned into a complete and comprehensive data commercialization platform. This “data product” lets their customers see how their number of transactions, average transaction size, and total sales are performing over time. It can even help them identify marketing and promotion opportunities by showing how often their customers buy from them, and how much they spend. We even helped them with their go-to-market strategy to increase user adoption and educate their customers on how to use the product.
In closing, like I said, finding a data partner is kind of like finding a marriage partner. It will serve you best to lose the “All or Nothing” mentality. Don’t wait until you have the perfect data warehouse to do analytics just like you wouldn’t wait until you have the perfect career, house, car, etc before you get married. You have to build those things together and test the waters before diving in. The right partner will work with you right where you are, understand where you came from, where you want to go and help you to get there.
– Thiag Loganathan, President, Big Data Insights Division