“So You’re On A Deserted Island With WiFi and you’re still on the clock at work. Okay, so not a very good situational exercise here, but let’s roll with it; we’ll call it a virtual deserted island. Perhaps what I should simply ask is if you had a month without any walk-up work, no projects due, no performance issues that require you to devote time from anything other than a wishlist of items you’ve been wanting to get accomplished at work but keep getting pulled away from I ask this question: what would be the top items that would get your attention?”
I’ve had the same goal for the last couple of years: I want to learn more about data mining. The fact that it’s still a goal of mine tells you that I’m not quite as good at accomplishing goals as I’d like to be, but there it is anyway.
As a DBA, I hold the keys to all kinds of unbelievably powerful data. I can point at the server that stores what products are hot, which customers aren’t buying from us lately, and which salespeople are effective. I know exactly where all this stuff is, and how it could make the company millions more in revenue. The key is being able to extract hidden trends and predict them before they happen.
If I had more time (and skills), I could tell executives things like:
- These are the top five customers who are about to leave us.
- These are the top five products that are about to go viral, and we need to stock more ASAP.
- These are the top five salespeople who need coaching to produce more revenue.
Walk into an executive’s office with this kind of information, and you’re a hero.
I kick the PowerShell horse a lot, and here it comes again. If you’re in IT, listen up: you’re either cutting costs, or making money. Guess which one has more upside. If you truly bust your hump, become an amazing scripting deity, and save 99% of your time, you just saved 99% of your salary. If you’re really good, you might save 10 people 99% of their time.
Or you can go into data mining and make 100 salespeople twice as effective at selling product and bringing money in the door. Think about it: your company has more salespeople than IT people, right? Put the scripting book down and pick the sales books up. Figure out how to move the revenue needle using data mining, and the executives will remember your name. The guys who cut costs are forgettable and replaceable, but the guys who increase revenue make the headlines.
Okay, enough preaching. Time to tag three people who are probably going to completely disagree with me, and I wanna give them that chance: