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The Data Conundrum

April 14, 2012

An interesting trend has emerged lately in my conversations with clients and prospects. The conversations begin and end with data.

We talk about questions such as:

  • What is data?
  • What data is meaningful?
  • Why is there so much data?
  • How do I make sense of all the data in my company?
  • What is the difference between big data and data?
  • How do I use all this data to make a difference in my business?

All of these questions are key to unlocking the future success of these companies. One of the phenomenon causing these questions is the increased use of sensors (data collection devices) in our businesses that collect massive amounts of data on all aspects of our operations. The real question boils down to what data is relevant and how do I use it?

Can we take some guidance from the way that we as humans process sensory data?  Research indicates that we process and act on less than 5% of the sensory data that we receive (vision, smell, hearing, taste and touch).  Think about a simple dinner with friends where all of the sensors are fully involved.  How does your mind decide what is important?  Put very simply, our brain uses a complex set of filters to decide what is important and what is not. Is it perfect?  Of course not – if it were there would be no need for auto insurance.  Perhaps we can begin learning about how we look at our corporate data by looking to how we as individuals interact with data.

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