While you may (or may not) be familiar with timeless, comical, and astute quote from the legendary bank robber Willie Sutton – I believe it should serve as a template for how we approach the practice of data usage in today’s current digital landscape. For those of you who are not familiar with Willie’s story, Sutton is famously known for answering a reporter, who asked why he robbed banks by saying, “because that’s where the money is.”
Perhaps Willie’s career choice leaves something to be desired, but his simplistic and direct commentary can certainly help as we all assess our respective corporate strategies and direction relating to data. This seemingly obvious viewpoint formed the basis of Sutton’s Law, often taught to medical students – it states that when diagnosing, one should first consider the obvious.
This very “principle” or “off-the-cuff remark” – depending on how you choose to interpret – can be applied to many of the conversations I have with management groups grappling with how or why to enact a data strategy. People want to better understand:
1. How to leverage data
2. What are best practices for data management
3. How all constituents interact (DMP’s, DSP’s, Networks, Brands, etc.)
…and the list goes on. While this may seem obvious to some people regarding data in the digital media space, the underlying need for all these questions (all of the due diligence, the education), stems from the fact that there is clearly VALUE in data.
So if asked why I work in the data space (specifically for a company dedicated to enabling strategic data management), I would answer “Because that’s where the value is“. While my quote may not generate the attention that Mr. Sutton’s comments provided, the general application of a Sutton’s Law seems to be accepted. When diagnosing the need and utility of data, individuals and their companies certainly should consider the obvious. CMO’s, CRO’s, CTO’s and others get it and are now ready move.
What excites me, eXelate, and hopefully the market at large, is that stakeholders are now actively taking the next step – really extracting value from data. While data value can take many forms:
…one thing is clear. The value exists and people want to harness that value. The fact that eXelate is at the epicenter of data – puts me (us) in a great position to help organizations leverage that value.