At a recent gathering (wedding), a friend of mine asked me “What are you doing now”? I said, “I work for Data Dynamics where we help customers manage and move their data.” I could see the look on his face. I know he’s not technical and his face showed he didn’t understand. Graciously, he asked “Is that a thing?”
If you can imagine I have two characters on my shoulders. One, The Techie, who is DYING to dive in to the three letter acronyms and ‘impress’ him with stats and numbers. The techie is figuring out how to draw on cloth napkin. On the other shoulder is “The Management Geek”. The “MG” wants to talk about ROI, Risk Analysis, and Cost avoidance. He could go on for hours about all of it!
But, I love my friends. I know they want to understand, but they don’t live in my techie/corporate world. I had to think a minute on how to proceed… don’t mention tech, don’t go into “corporate-speak” and just help him understand. So here’s what I said.
“If that data grew the way companies are growing now, the result is so huge that most people can’t describe it.”
Corporations have a problem and sometimes they don’t understand how big it is. Think about this. In the year 2000, I was driving home with backups of my company’s main data. The disks fit into my glove compartment. Moving that data was pretty easy. I could do it in minutes. Most people in management think it’s that easy. If that data grew the way companies are growing now, the result is so huge that most people can’t describe it.
Imagine a city block, it has six apartment buildings in it. Each apartment building has a different number of floors, but all have apartments A to Z on each floor. Each apartment building has a different entrance and only some have a service entrance. I lived on a block like this in Queens.
Your job, with your car from the year 2000 is to move all those buildings full of people and their stuff into the high rise, right at the corner. Here’s the problem(s). You must do it before their leases are up. You can’t move them into a better apartment than they had but they must be the same number of steps from the elevator. Oh, and you can’t lose one single piece of furniture, paper, or even their garbage.
The landlords of the six buildings want the people out in a month. The people don’t want to move. They all have schedules that conflict and think THEY are the most important.
So, my friend is looking at me with a funny look on his face. He asks “I’m sorry, I thought you were in computers”? I respond “Yes, and that’s an example of the enormity of the data problem in corporate America right now. Computers all have so much information, moving it can take years”.
“So, what do you do”? I respond, “We fix it and that’s why I love my job”. I get a ‘cheers’ on my glass of wine and we go back to having fun. A little while later, we sit down and he asks “Wait, how do you fix it? It sounds impossible”.
We can deploy hundreds of movers, and each works off of a master scheduler. Since we have everything centralized, we can tell the customers exactly when they’re going to move and how long it takes. Because our movers are also appraisers, they can tell the customers what’s worth keeping and what’s not. The result is we save everyone money on the move, we move them quicker, and we keep the landlords happy because we get it done on time.
“We’re still talking about computers…right”? “Oh yeah” I said. “I think I understand” he says back. “But I have one more question. “Don’t people get paid to move data, doesn’t that hurt them”?
Think about it this way. First of all, think about your dining table that you eat at every night? If it’s in the moving truck, are you using it? “No” he responds. And if the table and the chairs aren’t there, what good is it? “None” he responds. So…when your movers get it done faster and right on time so that you don’t miss a meal at that table, did they provide great service and value? “Ohhhhhh, now I get it. No one cares that the data is moving. They just need it to be there when they are ready for dinner”. I say “Yeah, something like that.”