Information Management, 2014-14-August-Deluge.jpgIt’s a deluge, you’ve been told. It’s a flood of biblical proportions. Data on your customers is more abundant than ever and the internet of things is only going to make it sky rocket. From terabytes to petabytes in 60 seconds!

You’ve probably also read that big data analytics tools and next generation customer information management systems mean that you, the competent but non-expert marketing analyst, can analyze these gigantic and mind-bogglingly complex datasets at the drop of a hat.

But then you look around your own company and see that customer data isn't standardized and has legacy issues, the analytics tools your company employs are beyond your comprehension and your IT department is cautious about allowing you to purchase tools for your own department.

It’s a common set of frustrations and it means that business users in departments like marketing, sales and operations have begun to take things into their own hands and are independently downloading user-friendly, efficient tools that get the job done.

Rules – Not Made to be Broken

Much to the chagrin of the CIO and IT department, business pros increasingly have few qualms about sidestepping the rulebook. A major factor here is that the average executive in marketing or sales is feeling the pressure to become more data and analytics driven in the “Big Data” era. They don’t understand why there needs to be rules when there are so many user-friendly applications available just a two-minute download away.

But, at the risk of sounding curmudgeonly, rules are there for a reason. The lone wolf scenario is leading to siloed departments measuring and analyzing similar success factors, but doing so with different metrics. This does not lead to any form of best practice or consistent view for C-suite executives to effectively compare performance.

In addition IT has strong grounds to want to maintain control. With everybody in the organization buying and downloading different software packages that don’t scale together, Companies end up with terribly inefficient spending and ineffective infrastructure. And that’s not to mention the network security risks that are inherent in having this army of lone wolves acting with only their own job functions in mind. 

Becoming a Gardener, not a Gatekeeper

The relationship between IT and the business user could certainly be more constructive. It can’t continue to be an irresistible force meeting an immoveable object. Both teams need to find common ground that allow the download of user friendly analytics and visualization tools, but at the same time engenders cross-company consistency and effective data management.