Strategic Analytics: The Final Frontier for “Enterprise” Data

by Rod MacPherson

Sorry for the bad pun.  I have been blogging recently about the incredible achievements of NASA- nailing the landing of the latest Mars Rover-Curiosity.  After a journey of 350,000,000 miles, it landed within 1.5 miles of its target. The jubilation in mission control was unconfined, as the team of mission monitors and engineers openly celebrated the successful milestone in the life of Curiosity- which is expected to relay a constant stream of data about the sustainability of life on the red planet back to earth over its anticipated 2 year lifetime. (although who knows- Voyager 1 is STILL relaying data- a journey that takes 17 hours, traveling at the speed of light from the extreme edges of our galaxy) If you want see where Voyageur is, click here. When I last checked, it was 18 billion kilometers from earth. I digress

If we think about that critical moment in mission control- when NASA personnel learned of the successful touchdown, a mere 15 minutes after the event- you realize that they have mastered the art of analytics. Not just about what has happened- but what was going to be happening (given the lag- and the need to adjust- they needed predicative indicators to make adjustments). They knew what they needed to know, and when they needed to know it. They had designed their data pipeline to provide the most critical information, in the most-timely fashion within practical limits of electro-magnetic physics as we understand it and our current understanding of quantum mechanics.  If only we could do the same for our enterprise data.

The reality is- we can. Today’s leaders are often misled and discouraged by the current realities of information management and their cynicism about what information is practically available, when, and to what degree of reliability.  This cynicism does not arise from the promise of what we as data management professionals are doing and promoting- they arise from the historical prejudice associated with IT and its excessive failure rate.

Strategic Analytics (and especially the predictive ones) that help decision-makers understand where the organization is going, not just where it has been, offers the greatest potential for organizations seeking to lever the enterprise data and big data social analytics in the most effective manner possible. Wayne Gretzky, perhaps the greatest hockey player of all time said it best perhaps. “I don’t skate to where the puck is, I skate to where it’s going”

For the data management professional, our ability to help the C-Level understand where the organization is going is probably the single biggest opportunity to prove and validate the value proposition of enhanced data management practices. For those of us designing and implementing strategic analytic solutions- we know that architected, reliable, qualified, relevant and timely data is the only way to do this.

 

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Rod MacPherson

Rod MacPherson is an Ottawa-based IT Professional and thought leader with over 20 years experience in the public and private sector. He is the founder and president of the local chapter of DAMA International, the world’s leading data management organization and is a published author on topics ranging from results-based performance management to the data management techniques that enable them. Mr. MacPherson is the author of the DM-BOK Data Management Maturity Assessment instrument and provides advice to organizations on how to improve their enterprise data management programs as a key enabler of service transformation. Rod’s current practice focus is on predictive performance analytics, Open Data and helping organizations build the case for enhanced data management practices. 

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