Data Sherlock: Become Indispensable

The case of “Become Indispensable” begins with our Data Sherlock meeting with an experienced Splunk Administrator. This administrator has a long and very successful track record with the Splunk platform. They have used Splunk to solve a bevy of critical monitoring, security and application problems over the years. However, the administrator wanted to have more of an impact but was unsure how to get started.

After initial greetings, our Data Sherlock asked the administrator a question that surprised him. Sherlock said, “what are the top 3 corporate objectives your CEO cares about?

Not expecting that question, the administrator was initially at a loss for words and didn’t know how to respond. This left the door open for Sherlock to explain:

“What we have found at our most successful accounts is that after they have taken care of the base use-cases inside of IT and security, the company is ready to tackle their critical business initiatives. We have found that these critical executive initiatives usually boil down to three high level areas.

First is growing revenue. This initiative can be couched under lots of different methods but ultimately boils down to selling more widgets, creating new markets or selling a new product. The end goal is to significantly grow top line revenue.

Second is increasing profit margin. This is sometimes spun as reducing costs but it has the same outcome as increasing profit margin. The idea here is that for every dollar sold the company lets just a little bit more fall to the bottom line.

Last is reducing risk. Risk is one of those key company objectives that is always top of mind, given the ever-changing attack vectors, and it has taken on new levels of importance as companies deal with the traditional competition and industry risk plus the new normal of external hacking, ransomware, etc.” 

With this quick review Sherlock asked again, “what are your top 3 executive or company initiatives?”

Having had those 2-3 minutes to gather himself, the administrator regrouped and offered up a few items he had heard.

“First, I know we are launching a new product later this year that is supposed to open a new customer segment for us. I know we are looking to lower the cost of our main product line as it goes into end-of-life mode. In addition, I am aware that there is some talk about our risk from an external or third party attack on our network and applications.”

With this Sherlock cracked a subtle smile and offered up the following advice: “If you want to become truly indispensable you need to go the extra mile in understanding your company’s critical objectives.  The details above are interesting, but are not nearly detailed enough, so take the extra time to really dig in and understand each of your company’s goals above. Once you have done that, then you can raise the bar by reviewing how putting your data in Splunk software can help. When you have a better understanding of the goals, you will understand what the critical questions you should be asking of the data are.

“Once you produce these insights, you will be able to share what you have found with your executives. Word of advice, once you bring initial insights to the executive team, be ready for a new level of engagement and questions as your executives will likely have dozens of critical questions they would like to gain answers to from the data that they just never knew they could before. And boom! You are now indispensable! Congratulations.”

Case closed.

Z – Data Sherlock

Michael Zuber

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