I remember reading a very interesting article in the NY Times by Gary Dark from Wired Magazine called a Data-Driven Life.
In the article Gary talks of how we gather personal data from so many different sources. These include what we eat, how we sleep, how much we exercise, and how we feel. This data helps us make important changes to our lifestyle such as increasing our exercise, cutting down on how much coffee we drink or making changes to our mental landscape so we feel more positive about ourselves. The power to make decisions on raw data rather than gut instinct can be very enlightening and also cast a very stark light on uncomfortable facts (maybe I shouldn’t have that second glass of wine).
I now cue the inevitable segway into the business world (you knew I would). We are storing all of this data about ourselves and we do a similar thing in our business but we miss out one important thing. In our business we don’t always connect the dots.
So our body needs more fuel and the stomach needs filling but the brain doesn’t feel hungry or our eyes can see a tiger but can’t communicate this to our legs. Can you imagine a body where the neural pathways were non-existent? I think the human race would have been extinct a long time ago. It’s not a case of the information not being available it’s just not joined up. We live in a data rich and information poor world.
An example of this is when a company is acquired; it can take many years for the different parts of the acquired organization to be joined up. This is due to different types of data and systems not being able to communicate, so in effect you have two pairs of arms and legs all working separately (a rather dysfunctional octopus). If only there was a visual analytics platform that took an agnostic view of the data and with the power of association could sort that in a few days rather than years, wouldn’t life be a lot safer?
So make sure your right hand knows what your left hand is doing, it might just help you get away from that tiger and not end up running around like a frightened octopus (no animals were harmed in the making of this blog).