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This Week’s Data Hero: 

Justice Sikakane

IT Manager at Hennepin Theatre Trust | Trailblazer | Salesforce Community Leader

Justice Sikakane and James Buckley talk about the evolution of data management

Transcript

James: So, what about data management stood out to you first before anything else?

Justice: Yeah. So, this is one of those things, James, where listen. Studies will tell you that 90% of the data that we see today came into existence within the last three years, so we have an abundance of data at our disposal. So, now all these terms that we’re hearing – artificial intelligence, how can we catalyze the data, how can we manipulate the data, how can we get the data to serve our organization’s benefit. First you have to understand well, what is that data? What purpose is it serving? Before you can get into … One of the things that not a lot of people know is artificial intelligence – the phrase, the term was coined in 1955, 56 – and from that you have machine learning, deep learning. There’s a lot of elements to what makes up artificial intelligence. But in order for artificial intelligence to truly serve its purpose, you have to have an abundance of data.

So, now when I’m in an organization, I’m trying to understand how is that data traveling, how is it integrated, where does it sit, how is it maintained. Is it clean? Is it normalized? Is there a lot of duplication? Those are the kind of key elements that started coming into play when I started saying, “Okay. Well, John Doe, CEO of X company needs to understand how our bottom line is being driven”, so I need to be able to come up and say, “Here are some aesthetically pleasing reports, dashboards, and it needs to be based on accurate data”, and obviously we live in a day and age where dirty data’s all over the place. So, now we have to get more creative.
So for me, the priority for me has always been data, data, data, data, and how can I manipulate it, massage it so it can actually serve its intended purpose.

James: Interesting. You brought up a lot of really interesting-

Justice: I did, I did.

James: -points there. Kind of went all over the place.

Justice: No, I think I understand where you’re going with it, though. I heard an interesting analogy today I think you’ll appreciate. One of our leaders here said that Salesforce and your marketing automation platform, whichever one it might be, are kind of like the house that all of your people live in – your contacts, your prospects, your customers – and in that house there has to be, you have to put furniture in it, right? And then there’s this element of over time, you’re constantly accumulating more and more, what we would call junk in our house. But really there are prospects and data and clients and contact information, and it eventually gets overwhelming to the point where we have to do what most people do – we have to have a garage sale. We have to get rid a huge percentage of our stuff and consolidate it all down to one.

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