Episode: Five Steps for a Data-Driven Future – Futurum Tech Podcast Interview Series

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Five Steps for a Data-Driven Future – Futurum Tech Podcast Interview Series

On this special episode of the Futurum Tech Podcast Interview Series, host Daniel Newman is joined by Doug Merritt, CEO of Splunk, to discuss the five steps for a data-driven future including how to establish data principles that make for a clear future. Without data we are flying blind — something companies can’t afford to do in our current competitive environment.


In our conversation, Doug and I explored the questions companies need to ask to define their data principles. There’s a billion different ways data can be sliced, diced, collected, analyzed, and utilized, but you have to know what you’re trying to do from the start. Questions like what data needs to be accessed, what data needs to be treated differently, and what will you do with the data need to be defined from the start.


Principles aren’t black and white. Doug shared thoughts on what often gets companies sidetracked when it comes to data principles. Too often, companies try to get too specific and black and white on exactly what is allowable and what is not. We are constantly moving and changing. Data principles are meant to serve as a framework. They are not meant to answer every question, but instead to give guidance.


Data principle framework. Doug and I discussed the core framework that should be in place when dealing with data. First, and most importantly, companies need diversity. The more angles and diverse data sets you can get, the better. Second, companies need collaboration. It’s important to bring as many different viewpoints, skills, backgrounds, and experiences of the people that are attacking the data together. Third, companies need to rely on curiosity and an open mindset when working with data. Finally, if you can bring diverse data sets, different collaborative sources and viewpoints, curiosity and an open mindset, you need to be able to admit that your viewpoint was wrong or that it changed. You need courage.


The human element of data. We also discussed how to bring as many people as possible to the data. To master this proposition, companies are going to have to focus on training, education, exercises and even “lunch and learns” around data. If you want to solve a problem, you need employees from all aspects of the business, with the right expertise.


Making data actionable. Lastly, Doug shared that employees need to be empowered to make decisions with the data. The people closest to the data, closest to the insight need to be able to make rapid, real-time decisions. At the same time, there should be checks and balances put in place to ensure that the right decisions are made. There should also be feedback for the employees and the management on whether the decision was effective or not.  


If you’d like to read more about these five steps be sure to check out Doug’s thought-provoking article. Make sure to listen to the full episode of the podcast and while you’re at it, hit subscribe so you never miss an episode.


Disclaimer: This show is for information and entertainment purposes only. While we will discuss publicly traded companies on this show, the contents of this show should not be taken as investment advice.

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