Posted on 25. Jul, 2012 in Kirchner Blog
Sarah Parcak is a friend and colleague. She is also a world authority on satellite remote sensing for archeology. Dr. Parcak’s work in Egypt has resulted in the discovery of “lost” pyramids, cities and even troves of antiquities. I would do Sarah great disservice if I attempted to describe the dizzying array of image acquisition methodologies and processing techniques that underlie her work. So for the purposes of this writing let’s just say that with the help of her eyes in the sky, Sarah sees patterns both on and below the surface that others can’t see.
So if we had the ability to use satellite remote sensing to view your business, what would we see? Viewed from afar, would we see surface patterns that give us comfort or patterns that give us pause. Would infrared looks below the surface reveal details that reflect a strong business infrastructure? Or would the images reflect details that raise concern.
Of course we don’t have satellites providing such images. However, periodic assessment of your business on and below the surface is not only possible; such assessments can be extremely valuable. Who should perform the assessment?
Certainly, senior management, the board and investors may know your business intimately. However, just as the on-the-ground archeologist has one view of the world around her, individuals that are intimately familiar with your business may not see the same patterns as independent, seasoned experts equipped with the right tools and proven analytic processes.
In one sense, such individuals can provide “remote sensing” and eye-in-the-sky views that can quickly point to exactly where we should dig to uncover the hidden treasure or detect the hidden mine field. You might be able to see patterns both on and below the surface of your business that you would not see without the aid of independent, competently performed assessment.
While satellites being used to sense important patterns in your business is a bit far-fetched, using another set of eyes equipped with proper tools and experience could give you pictures of your business that you could have difficulty getting any other way. Just be sure that the people doing the assessment have the tools to detect the relevant patterns and the expertise and experience to know what the patterns mean and the implications of alternate pathways for the future.