Denial of access explained

The week before last, I told about the young data analyst who got the door slammed in his data-seeking face, and I asked “why?” This week, a veteran of the data business answered.

He has spent decades at a large company that produces data solutions of all kinds. I’ve known him for two years, mostly as a voice for the technical side of the house.

The obvious answer is that the IT guy in that story is afraid of giving away the jewels. But that can’t be all there is to it, and my IT whisperer explained.

“IT only lives as long as the business side perceives that they have more knowledge,” he said from Texas this weekend. “If the business side thought they could run the systems without IT, [IT] would be out of there and replaced by mamoo [one’s favorite pet]. What dollar did IT ever put in the business’s pocket?”

Not even data quality is safe for IT. My source knows a president of a small software-and-services company who told him this summer, “I’m the only one who really cares about data quality. I’m the only one who needs to have all the data hang together. Everyone else is in their own little cubbyhole.” His job is to email others when the data doesn’t all sync together.

We’ll always need data mechanics, of course, just as car owners need people who align wheels and rebuild engines. The difference between now and 100 years ago is that mechanics are now part of the team. So it’ll be in BI.

Leave a reply

Other recent posts

Qlik finally set to leapfrog Tableau?

Who’s your rival? I carelessly asked a Qlik person at the company’s annual analyst reception Monday night in Miami if she hadn’t once worked for Tableau. Her revulsion was immediate. “No! Never!,” she said. We smiled. There was so much more to talk about. For one thing, how will private equity change things? Qlik wasn’t… Continue Reading

Five Tips for Better Data Stories

Originally published on September 22, 2015 in BI This Week, a TDWI publication. A “data story” sounds like such a great idea. You just mix data with storytelling and you’re done — except that most data storytellers get one thing wrong: they drown out the story with data. Such storytellers, I believe, assume that audiences… Continue Reading

Bohemian Grove a la BI

The Bohemian Grove of the BI industry convenes for the fifteenth time in just three weeks. Naturally, you ask the obvious question: Are you serious? The Grove? A summit? The answer begins with a fond recollection of the Grove. If you’ve never attended the Bohemian Grove yourself — I haven’t, though I live in the… Continue Reading

Favorite Star Trek, a data story

This story shows how elemental data stories really are. Humans come ready to tell and hear them, requiring no plug-ins at all. This young person can do a good job of it. There was a question, followed by data, then questions and answers, and and finally a conclusion. It’s all there. It’s elementary. Sure, this… Continue Reading