I was stopped in the lift by one of my colleagues. She said ‘you must come and talk to us about…’ At this point I braced myself ready for whatever problem was at the root of her statement. I guess it’s a hazard of my profession in that most people stop me when something goes wrong. People don’t give much thought to the technology that they use day in and day out until it stops working.
It’s a bit like electricity. Whenever there’s a power cut the first thing that we try to do is to switch on the lights so that we can see the problem. Everything is sweetness and light until it all goes dark. Nothing operates in the council without technology, nothing at all and when it does fail we are cast into a deep void, unable to deliver anything.
I guess it’s also a hazard of my profession that when one of my customers opens their mouth it is going to be bad news. Paranoia is apparently alive and well.
So anyway, I was stopped in the lift by one of my colleagues. She said ‘you must come and talk to us about Big Data.’ I was taken aback and left lost for wards, only temporarily mind you. She got out of the lift, leaving me to go up another floor. I uttered the word ‘wow!’ to myself.
These moments are rare and need to be savoured. Steve and I have been working away for some time to build a data bridge head. We need to get people over the Rubicon, from ‘what are they talking about?’ to ‘what a great opportunity is lying in our data.’ We’re working on a demonstrator to tell a story about the things we already know but haven’t realised.
It may be that the task is becoming easier. Perhaps my bleats and hints about our data are percolating through the corporate conscious. I’ve mentioned it in the strategy, it is highlighted in the service plan and I talk about it any opportunity that I can. It seems that I am getting some traction as they say.
This is good news. All that I need to develop a strategic approach to big data is to have a small number of senior people who understand the opportunity and are enthusiastic to get something done. The demonstrator is being built to get to this point, to get the concept over the line and to get a momentum going.
It is odd how you can push and push at something to the point that you are about to give up when out pops some indication that your efforts have been worthwhile. I must strike while the iron is hot and take her up on the kind offer of going to see her team. Having someone of her level and influence on board is going to be an enormous help. Perhaps I should ride the lift more often and not expect bad news every time I’m stopped