We’ve all been there. The closets are full. The basement is full. The garage is full. It’s time for a garage sale.
What are you selling? This is all stuff that at some point had value to you but now is just collecting dust and taking up space. So you put up flyers around the neighborhood, dust off your goods, and spread them out on the driveway. Your hope? That your garbage is someone else’s gold. That someone is willing to place a value on it.
It’s all about context. The reality is some of it truly is junk, but some of it is in perfectly good shape, but no longer has value for you. That tricycle you had for your kid was barely used but now she’s a teenager. The context of it’s usefulness has expired. But someone else can easily get value out of it.
For companies, this is information. Data. I once wrote about the information life-cycle:
Like any living entity, information has a life-cycle: it’s born, it has a useful life and it dies.
For information, death means no longer being relevant or useful. Companies are great at creating information and pretty good at protecting it while it’s relevant. The problem usually comes with knowing when it’s no longer relevant and to let it go.
I started thinking about the “knowing when it’s no longer relevant” part. We’re all familiar with the silo’s that grow or are constructed within organizations — sales, marketing, customer service, operations, accounting, and more — each of which creates and maintains information, often in separate systems of record. The CRM doesn’t talk to the helpdesk which is not connected to the accounting and ERP systems.
CEO’s are being urged to tear down those silos. Well, department heads, what if you took a little initiative? Those helpdesk tickets sure would be useful to product development and sales. Those purchase histories could have some value to marketing and customer service.
Let’s turn it around. It’s time for an internal garage sale. An information garage sale. How about finding out who else within your organization can get some value out of your data?
Be creative. In the age of context I bet someone else can find new relevance for what’s gathering dust in your garage.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.
(Photo Credit: Eastlaketimes)