The Under Utilised Asset Every Company Has

ChrisM“The assets” of a company refer to many things, factories, machines and big trucks and for others it is stock, cash and investments; take a second to name the key assets for your business. The value of a business is often determined by its assets and how they utilise those assets to generate profits. Investopedia defines assets as “A resource with economic value that an individual, corporation or country owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide future benefit.” So when you were naming the key assets in your business did you include one every company has in common, one key asset, data. In this age of information this is one asset that is continually growing in value and it needs to be utilised.

It is generally accepted that data is growing at a very high rate, doubling every 2 years on current trends. With such a high rate of growth how do we continue to make sense of data and how do we “utilise” it to our advantage? Let me take you on a journey, imagine if you will a factory has a machine that can produce a bottle label at a rate of 1000 per hour. Unless you are in the labelling business this might not mean much (and in fact I made this up to start with!). So anyway, you can create around 7,000 labels per day on a single shift but maybe 20,000 labels per day on a 24 hour shift, given some machine changes and startup factors. That looks pretty good until the large unnamed drinks company comes along and wants 60,000 labels per day. Well either you pass up the opportunity or you accept growth and go out and buy the brand new labelling machine that processes 9,000 labels per hour, now that is an asset story with real excitement and a logical conclusion.

Roll back to our data growth trend and take a logical look at that situation. When we look at our organisation and the tools we are using to manage one of our key assets, are we utilising this asset to its full potential? We make the decisions that drive our businesses from data and many have 5, 10 or even 20 year old systems managing that data or reporting on it. Okay 5 years old isn’t that bad but 10 to 20 years; is that doing the data asset justice or are you a 7,000 a day label maker in a 60,000 a day world. For some there have been system modifications over the last 5 years to cope with growth and that brings new life. For others these modifications are an accident waiting to happen, a 7,000 a day machine with a turbo charger ready to fall apart. If we value this asset, give it the treatment it deserves.

The business of managing data and utilising it is changing rapidly and if you aren’t adapting you can be sure your competitors are. With over 30 years of experience in this field nothing is more constant than change and big change. Sure there are quiet periods where stability is more important or nothing ground breaking is on offer. I am here to tell you though that 10 or more years without addressing this is too long, and maybe 5 is becoming the standard. Your data is a very important asset and utilising your assets is the lifeblood of your business.

One last thought to leave you on, don’t get a 7,000 a day machine if you need a 60,000 a day one.

Chris Miller

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