Data fluency and the last mile

Cartoon - After years of hard work our data system is up and running...Have you discovered anything interesting?  Yes nobody wants to use it.

I think the last mile analogy below will resonate with many of you.  Sometimes it seems like we spend so much time planning, collecting and analyzing that the final piece almost becomes an afterthought.

But if you really want the data to be used, you need to put in some real effort at the end.

From Data Fluency, a new book by the Juice Analytics‘ brothers Zach Gemignani and Chris Gemignani

We believe that data-phobia, technology limitations, or organizational dysfunction are symptoms of something broader-not the root causes of the lack of payoff we are currently realizing from data. ¬†The root cause is something we call “the last mile” problem. ¬†Fundamentally, failing to use data isn’t a technological problem, but a social problem.

The last mile analogy comes from telecommunications where bridging the final few feet from the big pipes carrying gigabytes of internet traffic throughout your city to each individual house is the most costly. With data, collecting and storing information is the easy part. The technologists have done their job. It is analytics, application, and adoption that pose the greatest challenge. Although data storage can be done en masse, the last mile is personal and often organization-specific. Revealing insights, influencing decisions, and taking action requires skill and motivation at a personal and organizational level. This is the missing link-the last mile-requiring individual and organizational data fluency.