Big Data is a Tool: Use It Prudently


Michael C. Daconta of GCN recently wrote, "Recent articles about Pandora’s and Netflix’s use of big data illustrate why government IT managers should not just focus on data management, data collection and even big data processing. They need to shift the focus from the data producer to the data consumer… In both these cases, we see big data is the stepping stone for consumer-centric information production. The Netflix micro-genres are not the trove of big data on movie viewing, or the movie data itself. Instead, it is useful information mined from that data. Likewise, the data containing Pandora users’ demographics and preferences create a way for advertisers to target buyers."


He continues, "In The Semantic Web, my co-authors and I described and demonstrated how an inference rule allows you to derive conclusions from a set of premises. It is important to understand that those inferences are not the data; they are useful information derived from the data. Thus the big data is the stepping stone necessary to derive useful information for consumers (in this case, Pandora’s advertisers). In other words, in order to make use of big data, we need to shift the focus from the producer to the consumer. This shift can be explained in terms of push-driven versus pull-driven processes: 'We must replace this uninformed data collection with engaging with business managers and line employees to learn what information they need to be effectively productive. After information requirements are clear, we pull the information production process by pulling and assembling data from multiple data sources. This is the essence of consumer-driven information production.'"


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Image: Courtesy Pandora