April 30, 2014

Snippets of Wisdom

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n our culture of asynchronous bursts of communications (check out the NY Times), I thought it time to offer a blog post that more closely mimics our current world of “snippeting”. Yes, I made that word up, and I hope it sticks. Here are some original thoughts that follow our core mission of serving up Real. Powerful. Thinking.

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True Genius: True genius is embodied in the ability to connect dots in creative, meaningful ways – dots that are often hidden to even the smartest among us. Progressive, competitive businesses are therefore keenly aware of the infinitude of what can’t be known and push through anyway, filling the gaps of knowledge with instinct and intuition derived from sharp insight.

Amidst a deluge of data it is important to think past the act of creating and offering analytics and see the impact a sound analytics strategy can have on your organization. Smart information technologists do not offer just analytics; they also offer insight. With insight, the possibilities are limitless. Dots once hidden are visible and can be connected in an infinite number of ways to provide an infinite number of solutions to any challenge. True genius is freed.

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The Oil-Data Comparison Is Only Half a Metaphor: Unrefined data is like unrefined oil – messy and useless. But boy does it have potential. Like oil, data can be refined, processed, and put to use in ways that add enormous value to those with access to refined data in all its forms. The oil-data metaphor has certainly “made the rounds” and is getting “long in the tooth”, but the cliché “sticks like glue”, because, as a cliché, the oil-data metaphor does express a truth that is hard to deny.

This comparison is nothing new. Michael Palmer imagined this very metaphor in 2006 in his blog post, “Data is the New Oil”.  Folks have been talking about oil-data metaphor ever since.

Such metaphors are certainly helpful and shed light on otherwise complex issues. It is however, necessary to think deeply when considering such “key words and tricky phrases”. The oil-data metaphor provides an interesting comparison that does offer insight into the nature of data as a raw resource. To uncover a more complete picture of how to best deal with data, it’s worth looking beyond the compare side of the ledger to the contrast side of the ledger to gain valuable insight.

Unlike oil, data is a rapidly renewable resource. In fact, several studies peg the current data creation rate at approximately 69 trillion bytes per second. The math is too difficult for me to complete in the time I have to finish this blog. Suffice it to say that at that rate, we have created way more data since this time in 2012 than existed in the entire world in 2006 when Michael Palmer wrote his insightful blog post. Moreover, the rate of data creation is accelerating! So, unlike the laborious challenges associated with finding oil to refine, we are faced with a different challenge. In the midst of a data deluge we must capture, refine, and use data before it is lost or becomes stale. Deliberation must give way to thoughtful urgency when moving on any data analytics strategy. For every second of indecision, 69 trillion bytes of data (and growing) whip by your window, are grabbed by your competitors and refined, processed, and turned to gold. Don’t stand inside when it is raining gold outside.

Editor’s Note: Please look for the “Snippets of Wisdom” posting at the end of each month. Next up: “Social Media Is A Game” and “Facebook Is Becoming the Matrix”.

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