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Tony Parrell
By Tony Parrell
July 25, 2017

I would argue that very few people could take a random selection of Lego blocks, throw them across the table and in a matter of a couple hours, assemble the Millennium Falcon. For such a complex goal, you would need the right pieces, in the right amount, supported by a detailed set of instructions to get the outcome you want, even then, it may become an iterative process, speaking from personal experience.

Ironically, this is not too far from reality in our data-driven world. There is no shortage of unstructured data to collect, store, combine, and analyze - the terms "Big Data" and "Analytics" have almost lost all meaning given the hype, overuse, and subjective definitions in the industry. Data has become the "corn" of the food industry, or the "oil" of our economy. There is an active obsession with "data", leading to a belief that more is better, but perhaps we need to turn our focus and our conversations more toward "information", representations of valuable data that are actually meaningful and actionable, provide insight, and contribute to our knowledge - the end goal. Information is what answers questions, provides answers, and in our business, helps operators understand how to make or save money.

The accuracy and depth of information that any product or solution can provide depends on many factors, the most important ones in my mind being location in the data source food chain (i.e. how close to the source data is the information being extracted), how complete is the view of the information, and the level of visibility.

When we engage in conversations about information with our customers, and how data supports that information, not the other way around, we find answers to questions that drive value. Otherwise, the risk is getting too focused on the data, and more of it, in the hope that it will magically coalesce into the Millennium Falcon one-day.

 


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