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Big data: There's signal in that noise

Andrew C. Oliver | Sept. 1, 2014
When the data you capture and crunch is large and disorderly, interesting bits may come along for the ride. Don't squeeze the life out of it -- explore it.

Now imagine the data you're capturing data for your business. What useful noise might it contain? Therein lie key opportunities for business development, loss prevention, cost reduction, and especially supply chain planning. These opportunities span business units, demand data liberalization, and require pooling data beyond what we can plan for.

They also require people dedicated to mining the data, except that conventional data miners tend to put on blinders and do what they're told. You need domain experts to get involved and look for stuff you don't realize is important yet. This requires people to be curious, ask questions, and seek serendipity. Sure, you might find pirates fight global warming and note that correlation is not always causality, but you might also find that animals run from the epicenter faster than your fancy devices detect an earthquake.

You may also find out that your customers or coworkers are unconsciously communicating something to you. To some degree, this is a game of Data Katamari: You need to gather enough mass to create a star. There are whispers of wisdom in that noise. It's our job to listen hard and discover them.

Source: InfoWorld


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