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Insight and analysis of technology and business strategy

Growth and insight, it’s all thanks to data

Dear Data,

Looking back at our journey, I can’t believe we’re approaching two decades of partnership. When we first met, I had no idea what an important part of my life you would become. I had no idea what an important part of everyone’s life you would become.

We met early in my tech career. I was looking to work on cutting-edge technology, and I landed a job working on a database product. At that time, we were both all about software applications – they were the star of the show. You played a supporting role in applications, holding and protecting their valuable information. I played a supporting role for you, enabling database strategies to help you perform your work more effectively.

You had a humble but incredibly important job. People relied on these software applications for some of their most essential work. These applications managed businesses, government operations, healthcare processes and more. You played a vital but hidden role in their success, supplying critical information to them in the background.

We were asking a lot out of you and giving you very little flexibility to show us what you were capable of. You had a job to do and you reliably delivered with few complaints.

Over time, people began to notice you, intrigued by the information you were able to provide them. They became curious about what you knew, asking questions of you with greater and greater frequency. People were so hooked on asking you questions that they developed a better way of working with you, and a new family of applications called business intelligence was created.

The spotlight was shifting to you now. Continuing our partnership, I took on the role of data analyst to support you. I was excited to show others your strength and help your voice find a bigger stage.

Once you established your role in business intelligence, you became part of mainstream conversations. We learned so much from the information you gave us.

After all, data is information, information is knowledge, and knowledge is power.

Bolstered by the newfound power you bestowed on us, we started to wonder what else you could know. We wondered what you could learn and what else you could teach us if given the right resources. Statisticians had long known of your power, but the general business population was just beginning to catch on.

Before I knew it, you dove headfirst into predictive modeling. Folks switched from asking you what has been done to asking what will happen or what they should do. Whispers began to trickle through the business communities about wild success adopting predictive forecasting, recommendation algorithms or other statistical data techniques. It seemed like overnight, you became the “it girl.”

Having been your partner for almost a decade now, people were asking me about you at an alarming pace. For the first time in our partnership, I questioned if I could keep up. I didn’t have the statistical skills required to speak your new language. After some soul-searching, I decided to stick with you. I sought higher education and learned again how to reach and support you as you grew.

From here, it feels like a whirlwind. Your star continues to rise. It seems like you grow in leaps and bounds every day. I’ve continued my role as a support to you. I’ve spent some time as an analytics architect ensuring that you were shuttled to all of your activities like a proud mom would. I’ve spent the last while in leadership, teaching your value to others and building up the next generation of data professionals to ensure that they, too, can have a great partnership with you.

It’s been really something watching you grow from supporting actress to leading lady over the years. As you grow and explore new areas, I know you will keep changing the world.

These days as I watch you soar and try to keep up, I’m happy to have been there for even a small part of your journey.

Always yours,

Laura Ellis
VP, Data Engineering and Platform Analytics

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