What’s all this about technology “democratization?” Gartner gets credit for the quotes. It’s been all the buzz for some time, but especially since Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020: Democratization hit the ‘net. But let’s get something straight. The notion that more people could have access to technology if only it weren’t so darned technological has been with us for centuries.
Kron started it.
After the first person etched an animal on a cave wall with a charcoal stick, envious others would learn how to do it, too. They’d struggle to create a fire and burn a properly seasoned stick until it had just the right amount of carbon to draw figures. The enlightened few could produce a few charcoal sticks and decorate their own cave walls. Then some enterprising person (Kron) who knew how to do it began producing charcoal sticks for the masses. Democratization of technology was born.
See? Now the activity of producing cave art was accessible to anyone who could barter an animal skin or slab of meat for a charcoal stick. Black Stick Kron advertised this new technology with the tagline “You draw on wall nice with Black Stick.” But wait. Not everyone can draw. This sleight of hand made Black Sticks all the rage, with so many cave persons boasting about their artistic skills, no matter how ugly some of those drawings were.
If you had the skill to sketch a deer or a mammoth, you could get right to the task with Black Stick, without ever having to make Black Sticks or even know how to make them! Black Sticks certainly “democratized” cave art, but it really wasn’t for everyone. Sure, there were many more Black Stick cave artists than there had ever been, but not everyone could be or wanted to be a cave wall artist.
Everyone needs it now.
Suddenly it seemed that everyone needed to have the best cave art. It became mandatory not only for the aesthetics, but also for recording life events, predicting when to hunt, when the snows would come, and when to plant. Eventually every household wall was adorned with such things, making life so much easier. You didn’t have to know how to draw or even buy Black Sticks. There was now a large group of generalist Black Stick artists available to enhance the utility and beauty of your cave.
Increased capacity has a great return. The world becomes far less complex when great technology tools are combined with basic skills and know-how to become a commodity.
It’s been millennia since Black Stick, but today the buzz is about data analytics, machine learning, and all that. Like the elegant calendar etched on the cave wall by a cave art generalist, knowing clearly what mountains of data tell a business is imperative, especially around razor sharp relationships. Today’s Black Sticks are the technology tools with built-in models, frameworks, and techniques to sort the trees from the forest. Democratization means domain experts need not become techno-specialists. They can solve the lion’s share of data analytic challenges by combining their know-how with technology tools that make magic behind the scenes.
Today’s Black Sticks
Computers and storage have become relatively cheap and available. The “cloud” (whatever THAT is) is one of those convenient places to accumulate tons of data, while outpacing your ability to make timely and accurate sense of it all. Until the new Kron over at Gemini created several Black Sticks:
- One cleans up, makes sense of, and fosters fast and simple streaming of critical data—while uncovering relevant context—without having to write queries and all that technobabble.
- Another displays relationships between data elements visually—another one of Gartner’s strategic trends—giving you simple, usable tools to quickly reveal critical relationships.
- Yet another provides an innovative and robust platform that obviates the need for complex hardware specifications, capacity sizing, OS, IP, etc.
Tons of low hanging fruit.
Think about it. You have…
- Data assets to protect
- Privacy and security to ensure
- Data regulations to comply with
- Fast-paced competitive strategies to develop and implement
- A need to efficiently hire and onboard the best employees
- …and the list goes on.
This is the stuff of business success. You have to do it fast and you have to do it right. You can’t hammer and chisel your way through the morass and expect to keep pace with the competition and market dynamics. Imagine if you had to build a clock whenever you wanted to know what time it is. Add clock technology to the work environs by adorning walls with clocks and a casual glance is all you need to know the hour. It’s not about being a clock-building specialist. It’s about having lots of time-telling generalists.
Two ways to crack a complex problem
- Raise the skills, knowledge, and abilities of the few who typically solve the problems, right up to the level of complexity. Train them. Give them time to develop technical skills. Fill their heads with what they need to get the job done.
- Reduce the complexity of the problem space by introducing simple but capable tech tools that make all that training and skill development unnecessary, especially for everyday subject matter experts. Weave the technology stealthily into the fabric of work and you make its utility ubiquitous.
Which do you choose?
The range of risk and complexity in data analysis problems goes from dirt simple to impossibly complicated. Between those extremes is where 70% or more of the most pressing data science challenges lie. It is within this sweet spot where the few brilliant data science specialists should yield to a small army of generalists with the right tools, freeing the most brilliant to do only the heavy lifting. It’s a win-win, with enormous return on your data analysis investment. Why open a peanut with a sledgehammer when you can get them already shelled AND salted?
Today’s data analysis tools from Gemini are all about finding that clear signal in your data’s noise. Visual representations enable you to name that tune in one note. Want to learn more? Let’s chat about how Gemini’s solutions can work for you, “democratizing” data science and analytics. Select the link and we’re on it with you. Because business is not a democracy; data science democratization really means competitive advantage and business savvy.