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There is data and there is analytics. They work together. They need each other. These two things are linked, but it helps to think of them separately.
From my perspective data is about determining the truth. Analytics is about deriving meaning. I would suggest that most data experts already know this. They support it. They understand it. They believe it. In fact, no data expert I have ever met thinks data does not begat more value when it is properly used in analytics.
I’m not trying to be divisive here, but I can’t say the same for the Analytics camp. I regularly see posts that include comments like:
“Data has no value unless it is turned into analysis”
“Data is worthless without context”
“Data = nothing, Information = all”
These kinds of comments go on and on.
And they are simply untrue.
So, I respond to these folks, sometimes tenderly, and sometimes forcefully, but always consistently, that you must determine the truth first, before you derive meaning.
Data Management Before Business Intelligence
It’s not a competition, but I rally for the unsung DATA professionals in data management, in Data Governance, in MDM, RDM, master data, metadata and the like, who know every day that their work is foundational, is bedrock, and enables the ability for an enterprise to flourish with gloriously informed analytics.
Our space is rampant with terrible poetry (ie: “data is oil” etc). But analogies and metaphors can help when they illuminate, when they explain, when they deepen understanding. So, let me offer one…
Data is the Food, Analytics is the Recipe
If you want a healthy business, you need to eat right and eat well. If you want to feed your family, you don’t buy bad and stale ingredients and then hire a fancy five-star food “scientist” to make the meal. It will taste like crap. Keep doing it, and you will go hungry (and your fancy five-star food “scientist” will quit). To feed your business with the right insight, take care of your data first. And let’s put aside the competitive divide between data and analytics. Try thinking about Truth and Meaning.
And as I am fond of saying this isn’t a chicken or egg question, it is an egg and omelet process.
Determine the truth first, then derive meaning. Bon Appétit!