Enrich Like an Egyptian

Most of my clients understand the steps in the Data/AI process: Resolve, Validate and Deduplicate. But when it comes to enrichment, most cannot comprehend the immense possibilities–in fact, they usually don’t think they need it at all. Hogwash. When I encounter resistance to the modern advancements available regarding enrichment, I encourage my teams to think like an ancient Egyptian.

Ancient Egyptians looked at a patch of barren, desolate desert, and thought to themselves, “Ya know what would look GREAT there? What if we built a colossal pyramid? Sure, it’ll take hundreds of years and thousands of people and at the end of it we have a windowless, remote, wholly-imported giant stone triangle, but it will boggle the imagination for centuries to come!

When they got bored with manual labor in the fields, you have to imagine one Egyptian turning to another and posing, “What if we hooked this tool up to that there ox, and then got the ox to drag it around instead of us?” Thus, the plough revolutionized agriculture. Versions of it are still in use today.

Tired of people missing their meetings and running late, Egyptians gave us two more inventions that–while not totally solving the problem–at least removed some better excuses. “What if we had something that tracked the days, and also the hours of each day?” Their boundless innovation produced early forms of calendars and clocks.

Wigs, makeup, toothpaste, writing, mummification… many of the crazy things they dreamt up are still in use today, or at least admirable in their ambition for the time. And each started with a “what if” question that defied the odds of getting an actual answer–but thank Ra it did. Few civilizations were as prolific or influential.

Big crazy questions are also useful when it comes to enrichment. I encourage my clients to throw practicality to the wind and think beyond the limits when we’re designing enrichment approaches, because the wilder the question, the bigger the payoff.

We need to track large, remote outdoor inventory. What if we added weekly satellite photos to our data set, taught the computer to count items and track it all for us, and enriched our product logs with information from not only us, but our competitors too?

What if we took all the history we have about a critical position within our workforce, enriched it with information about the demographics of these hires, then flagged the top performers and taught the computer to predict who, from our current candidate pool, would make a great hire?

What if we enriched our customer data with information about their affinity groups, then tested extremely specific messages with a micro-segmenting marketing strategy?

These scenarios seem crazy when you first think about them. Like building a pyramid, the resources involved to collect data, then add more data, then simplify it all to a single piece of information that can transform your business seems like hunting down a needle in a haystack–a futile, pointless waste of time.

But unlike pyramid building, with AI and sophisticated machine learning the human effort is almost nothing.  The biggest effort for most of the humans I work with is opening their imagination to building a proverbial pyramid within their organization, and when that mindset is activated, anything is possible.

To explore the wildest outer reaches of enrichment as part of your sales, marketing, or CRM transformation strategy, sign up for a demo with our corporate data archeologist, Steve Smith, today.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

Data and Artificial Intelligence Practice Lead ssmith@nusoftsolutions.com