Chris J Powell

Where is all This Data?

All this Data that we have just lying around not being used can serve a purpose.  At any given time, I have no less than 4 TB of this stuff laying around across more than a dozen Hard Drives and this is just me.  When you look to all the businesses out there that have information spread across multiple sources, channels and solutions…the task of wrangling it all together sometimes takes on the daunting task of herding cats.


How do companies actually get past the fact that they have the data, and then make the move to actually using it?

The Harvard Business Review has a great Special Collection on From Data to Action that does a great job of adding fuel to the fire of just how daunting the task can be but there are some really great nuggets of insight, especially if you are a Small to Mid Sized company that has been tasked with solving the Big Data situation…but not given the budget to actually accomplish it the same way that the big boys do.

Big Data on a Dime is something that is not only possible…it can be done in a surprising little amount of time…if you have a plan in place. Over at IBM they have a really solid idea of how to actually start down the path to Big Data dominance and it all starts with Understanding the Compelling Drivers.  If you don’t know the why…then for the most part, a Big Data Project will get out of Scope really fast and become the pit that swallows careers, businesses and maybe even relationships.

For you, the Data that you have may come from your Customer Records housed in your CRM, your Manufacturing and Vendor Data in your ERP, Employee insights and Talent schema right there in your HRIS and LMS but even bigger than all this, is the ability that too many companies still have not embraced…the world of Social Media.  You can access all the information and most of the major Players (Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook) all have APIs that you can start to pull data from to make real connections between the world…and your own Data.

There is the need to look at the Data you have…but don’t limit yourself to just what is internal to your organization.  The  great thing about Data today, is that it is not only Portable it doesn’t need to be transported with a Forklift and Cargo Plane!


Look to Open Data Projects that your Local, State/Province and Federal Governments are Participating in.  When I need to look for data to support an idea, I often go to OECDStatistics Canada and the Census Bureau of the United States.  But do a quick search on Open Data in your location…when I do one for Open Data London,  Ontario, I get some very interesting results.

My greatest suggestion, for anyone (and you don’t have to be an IT Guru to start down this path of discovery) is start now.  The information is there, the connections can be made…it is up to you if you actually want to know more tomorrow than you do today.




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