Business has a new, annoying buzz word to go along with ‘synergies’, ‘disruption’, ‘productize’ and ‘jargon’. (If you haven’t had enough, venture over to Forbes’ list here to make your stomach churn further. Never have I hated clickbait so much). We all use them and it becomes increasingly painful to hear.
The ‘Gig Economy’ has become ubiquitous amongst MBAs and millennials, variously defined as the empowerment of underutilized supply, the biggest threat in the hotel/taxicab/power company/cable/restaurant/communications business and the latest, best ‘side hustle’ for people to make a bit more money. We might have predicted it (though, of course, hindsight allows us to have predicted anything, really). Economic theory posits that supply and demand will always tending towards equilibrium regardless of market pressures one way or another. Our vast supply of ‘things’ – cars, homes, hours in a day – that drive the gig economy can now be maximized to the very last minute and dollar.
Our data is no different. The information gleaned from our data has made Google rich, newspapers poor, people amused by the ‘People who purchased this item also purchased …’ section on Amazon and nerds (myself included) to search vast electromagnetic radiation records to search for extraterrestrial life with SETI. The Cambridge Analytica scandal is case in point; every data point in a vast sea of knowledge can be used for profit whether we realize it or not. We didn’t know our Facebook friends could indicate so much of our political preferences, but once someone had the data they found a way to use it. For predictive data analysis, maintaining institutional knowledge across generations or microtargeting for promotions, every data point tells a story, every time. Data – in every business – is now our most valuable IP, conceivably worth millions more than the innovations that created it.
Every business collects data, be it on sheets of paper, floppy disks, CDs or in cloud storage. Our customer history, level of purchasing, payment turnaround, revenue turnover, consulting or service hours and more. There is no corporate ‘Marie Kondo’ to cleanse us of our data lust – we collect and keep everything.
We now know the power this corporate data has. We can predict our clients’ future purchasing decisions, understand which SKUs to purchase and terminate and figure out which client or vendor gives us the greatest return on time or money invested. And every business has it.
We generally let this gold stay in the ground, though. It sits in a warehouse, or a basement, or a garage and degrades. That data can be worth thousands, feeding future growth and getting us back in touch with our best clients. Evidence surrounds us. Immense value can be generated from the throwaway details sitting in banker’s boxes and our unsearchable scanned records. We blame expense, time, manpower and ‘more important things’ to ignore it.
This is no longer reason enough – or true enough – to let our data go to waste.
We at Consentia use AI, exceptionally efficient staff and ‘smart’ hardware to sort, read and enter the precise data you want automatically (and discard that which you don’t), process and verify documents for completeness, meta-tag your information and securely deposit it in your document management system, data vault, accounting system, cloud storage or on floppy disks in large cardboard boxes (if you so chose – for some reason). Whatever you need to digitize, however you want to present it and at a price and schedule that meets your needs (without blowing your budgets).
The gig economy has taught us to take every skill, asset, or piece of knowledge we have – driving our cities, taking tourists to the sites and sounds of our homes, selling power to our utility grids from solar panels amongst others – and derive the maximum value out of it. Our data is no different. It’s time to make it work.