article |
Turning the Abstract Into Clarity

Live By the Data or Die By the Numbers

I admit it. I'm not much of a number cruncher. I stuck with liberal arts classes in college. I love tip calculators because they save me from having to do math while I eat. I love Coinstar machines so I don't have to count my own change. And forget about translating things into the metric system. I don't swim or dash because the distance is measured in meters. 

Do you know what else I love? Data. How is that possible? Data is all about numbers, you may say. But that's where you're wrong. Data tells stories. Data uncovers clues that solve mysteries. You just have to know what you're looking for, and you have to know how to look at it. 

Luckily for us as business leaders, technology has taken much of the math out of data strategy. There are tools to collect and analyze Big Data's vast amount of ones and zeroes. Then there are tools to present the results in a simple, consumable way. With data, you can make decisions based on facts that directly connect to daily business or long-term strategy. 

The articles in this issue explore many of the strategic issues concerning the concept of Big Data. But instead of talking about what will be in the issue, I've created a word cloud that pinpoints the main themes that are covered.  

You'll notice a few words rise to the top: customer experience, data strategy, unstructured and structured information, real-time analytics, and value, just to name a few. Using data tools, information can be understood in a completely different way. This leaves senior management to focus on what really matters in data strategy—creating a vision for your company. The technology and numbers you crunch are simply a means to enact that vision.