We have all seen the multitude of screaming headlines touting BIG-DATA, Internet of Things (IOT), Unstructured Data, data warehouses, data marts, business intelligence, Data Lakes, Hadoop, Machine Learning, NLP etc… The list goes on and on. The omniprescient, omnipotent promise of data reminds me of the erstwhile dotcom era of the late 90’s and early 2000’s where just the appearance of .com at the end of your company name was enough to grant you sky-high valuations and a plethora of venture capital funding. We all know that the dotcom bubble burst and things came down to reality.
Data without insight is of no use. Data which does not provide us with actionable intelligence and predictive abilities, will go down the same way as the Walkman and the VHS players of the past. Who cares how many gazillions of data is being generated by connected devices, sensors, wearables, the web, social media, avatars, playstations and other digital technology- if this data cannot be used and analyzed “intelligently” to find hitherto invisible patterns, trends and forecast the future, it will not be valuable.
The political pundits in the current presidential election in the US had previously all predicted that Donald Trump was just a flash in the pan and that he would not stand any chance of sustainability. The same was also prognosticated about Bernie Sanders and how Hillary Clinton had nothing to worry about him emerging as a viable alternative to her, as the Democratic nomination for the President. With the benefit of hindsight and the current state of affairs, we all now know how horribly wrong those pundits’ forecasts and predictions were. Apparently their crystal ball was not working at best, or at worst, was diametrically mis-aligned to generate the opposite prognosis.
On the flip side, data when used intelligently to enhance decision making and leading to pro-active and strategically aligned action, can be extremely powerful and valuable. Leveraging the right analytic tools on the right data sets, can generate insights into business drivers organization-wide, providing all encompassing, integrated real-time visibility across traditional enterprise functional and business process silos. This can engender increased consistency, efficiency and effectiveness in supply chain planning, demand management, customer experience management, HR, retail, logistics, operations,distribution and production planning. By eliminating manual, batch driven data & periodically recurring consolidation processes, and by automatically garnering both structured and unstructured data within the corporation and across its business network, Data can propel us to the proclaimed Nirvana state and live up to its promise. When you combine this with any-time, any-where access on any-device to the right person, at the right time so that they can make the right decision, we will be off to the races. As Robert Frost so eloquently wrote in his famous poem, ” The woods are dark & deep, but I have many miles to go before I sleep”. The beginning has been made… Though hope is not a strategy (as many of us in sales, have learnt or have been told by our managers), I am optimistically confident that we can mine the data goldmine and strike it Big. As I say, Go Big or Go Home !