Friday, May 25, 2012

Teneo Vulgo (commonly known) is bigger than big data

Big data enables the analysis of trends. It will only really become consistently reliable if validated over time. It can help capitalize on opportunities, since it allows the collection of large amount of information quickly. However, does it really provide that elusive strategic advantage? Until the models for its usage mature and it becomes comparable to sound research methodologies - it is like to be somewhat of a bull in a china shop. Would you use big data to decide shifting your company's products' focus? Well, certainly not as a single input.

Nonetheless, trend analysis always has been, and always will be - a great tool for understanding behaviour of customers, and other trends important to an organization. Big data only really changes the “interface point”, i.e. where and how you collect trend data (and at what quality). Hence this type of “contract” (interface point) needs to be carefully assessed before subscribing to it and using it to make important decisions.

The next big shift in information management will be, not the way we analyse data, but how data flows. Social media was a big shift in information management in the sense that it changed the behaviour patterns of how humans communicate. Similarly, were, the internet, telephony, and the post service. All of these technologies affected the time taken for information to reach its audience (delay) and the method of communication (the channel).

Big data is a method to harness social networking, mobile phones’ position information and similar “mass data”. However, to witness a big shift we need to see a change in the technologies affecting the behaviour associated to publishing and disseminating information.

The present modes of information flows are largely unstructured and loosely governed. It is no wonder that organizations find it challenging to manage information. This stems from the approach people take to engage with information. It is not to say we cannot, or do not manage some information properly – we most certainly do. However, this type of information is in fact a very small portion of the information that exists (there are peta bytes of data is out there). Managing information carefully requires laborious training and controls, due to specific (unique) demands, its relevance to a particular purpose and the fact that people do not generally see information as an asset that needs to be managed. Makes you wonder what ever happened to the saying: knowledge is power.

The next big shift will affect the behaviour of people in terms of their perspective towards information they produce, own or consume.

The value-add for this change will originate from the need to become more precise (after decades of information chaos) in terms of our engagement with information. Why? Because this will make us more comfortable and confident about the information - allowing us to make quicker and better decisions based on informed choices over our information sources. This will apply to both personal and professional information uses.

This next big shift is Teneo Vulgo.

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