The answer depends not so much on how the question is asked nor on what the subject of the data might be. Rather, it depends on the spirit of the individual who’s looking at the data.
Looking Ahead with Excitement
My niece is entering the University of Michigan this fall to begin her undergrad years. She’s chosen to enter computer science, but she’s sparring with her father (a senior scientist for a chemical company) over how she intends to channel her curiosity. He wants her to take a methodical approach (especially in her free time) and learn how to code websites, for example. Or to code programs that run games. He believes the fundamentals should be interesting enough for her and that she should be excited at the notion of acquiring skills to create products that people find useful and helpful.
She says she gets his point, but that she wants to solve problems she hasn’t thought of yet. She wants to explore data and be able to recognize patterns as they surface. She wants to discover.
I don’t think either of them is wrong, and so my advice to her is to take the curriculum, apply yourself with discipline, AND surrender to your curiosity. Pursue your passion for chasing meanings hidden from view in the data. That’s where value lives.
Skills for the Future
As I think about my niece and the world she’ll graduate into, it strikes me that she is positioning herself appropriately. I found support for my faith in her in this McKinsey study called, Ops 4.0: The Human Factor—Planning for Tomorrow’s Roles. In stage two of their four stage approach, they recommend this to those looking to acquire skills for the future, “They’ll need expertise in your organization’s specific domain, the ability to solve problems and execute continuous improvement activities, and the ability to work with data and advanced digital tools.”
When we look to the future of customer success and try to understand which character traits will emerge as most important, we shouldn’t assume anything based on what worked in the past. It’s a fool’s game, anyway, to blindly go with what worked before while ignoring the rapid evolution in business that’s taken place over the last decade.
Cloud, as the saying goes, flipped the paradigm. Urgency is in. Fast thinking. Look over your shoulder to make sure your competitors aren’t gaining on you, and you’ll quickly learn that was the wrong way to turn your head. The future of business is unpredictable, of course, as it’s been for some time now, but we do know one thing with certainty: Customers are emboldened, and what’s really interesting is that, for the majority of people, they don’t even realize it. It’s just the way of the business world now. There will be no putting the cloud genie back in the bottle.
Still, We Know Some Things
There are two things we know about customers. No matter the size of the business:
Curiosity about how we can improve the ability for our customers to achieve success is a driving force behind Oracle’s efforts to pay close attention to how our customers consume information from our new portal. And curiosity is behind our efforts to monitor and iteratively improve how our customers will experience an acceleration toward their goals by using the advanced services component of the new service model we’ll be releasing soon.
Are we excited? Yes. As excited as my niece is about discovering new things? It’s a toss-up.
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