Mining Intelligence from Planet Data

Let’s face it, we live on Planet Data. Our lives are significantly influenced by what the data represents and how the data is communicated. It is no longer enough to be data-driven. It is now imperative to transform into an Intelligent Business.

Let’s face it, we live on Planet Data. Our lives are significantly influenced by the data generated from our actions. Moreover, the interpretation of that data becomes a reflection of us as individuals and as a society. For example, a lot of personal data is produced from using your mobile phone. Because of this data, your mobile phone is a unique representation of you on this planettherefore it can provide extremely meaningful information about you, your habits, and your lifestyle. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Consider all the data generated from all the other smart devices creeping into your life — even your car. As an individual, it is a challenge to manage and protect your data. As a business, the data management challenges increase exponentially but so do the opportunities.

As a business, success will depend on your ability to derive intelligence from the data generated by your customers, employees, partners, vendors, competitors – the list goes on. The sources and volume of data are exponential. An intentional, informed data management strategy can help you manage, protect and gain insights that create competitive advantage. However, life on planet data needs a new perspective and a new set of capabilities. 

From data-driven to intelligent

It is common to see references to company strategies being more data-driven. Many of these strategies focus on utilizing data to improve processes and make better factual business decisions. However, being a data-driven business is no longer sufficient. It is now imperative to build off a data-driven strategy and transform into an Intelligent Business But what does that really mean?  

Let’s look at some key characteristics of what it means to be an intelligent business. First it begins with the culture; a culture defined and modeled by leadership. Culture is what transforms you from a data-driven business to an intelligent business. It is what extends the capability of intelligence across the organization. 

The second characteristic of an intelligent business is technical capabilityToday’s technology gives us the tools to extract business value from an inconceivable number of inputs. An intelligent business can deliver an optimized technology solution to a range of data-based investigations. 

The final characteristic is leadership. It takes aexperienced and innovative leader who understands the power of data to guide an organization on the journey to becoming and intelligent business.  

Community-Driven Data Culture

Intelligence must permeate your culture. The data-driven mind-set must be pervasive in order to transition to an intelligent business. I challenge you to think of a role for which you can make a decision without data. Every department and line of business has a responsibility to understand their data and how that data impacts decisions.  

Leveraging data for intelligent decision making must become a second-nature mind-set for all your employees. Creating this new culture will require a transition for most organizations. Processes must change from being siloed and disconnected. The intelligent business requires the availability and sharing of data, and data knowledge, across functional areas and lines of businesses. In this transformed organization data communities will enable members with knowledge of their domains to easilcollaborate with other members on the understanding of available datasets and creation of new datasets. 

 Data-first Technology Infrastructure

Probably the most challenging aspect of a transformation into an intelligent business is the creation of the foundation to manage the data of the business. We all know that overall an IT strategy is perpetually evolutionary, typically still supporting legacy data and applications, and now commonly the adoption of cloud services. Today’s digital transformation technology challenges also include managing the hyperaccelerated production of data, especially unstructured data, and the rapid expansion of geographical locations and proliferation of data sources. Then there is the critical need for data management to support the ever-changing local and global data privacy policy and regulations.

In the era of the intelligent business, it is of no surprise that there are new complexities that must be addressed. It is imperative to support an environment that provides data consumers (i.e. data scientist, data analysts, data engineers, etc.) visibility into available data sources, as well as a means to request and gain access to the data inside the organization and from 3rd party sourcesLeveraging data from multiple datasetsusing multiple, different data processing and analytics tools, through to a production deployment, is very complex journey A strategy needs to be established for consistency and governance across the entire company for this entire lifecycle. The generation of fast, reliable and trusted answers for the business is the name of the game to gaining a competitive advantage. 

An organization that chooses to transform its business requires a data architecture supporting a wide variety of data sources, a robust processing core that can scale to any demand and a way to tie together data from different locations and contexts to achieve a desired outcome. Well-constructed data pipelines and the data fabrics in which they are created enable organizations to transform and thrive in a multicloud environment. With this approach, organizations can serve their consumers in an appropriate context, anywhere in the world.¹- Modern Enterprise Data Pipelines

With this approach, organizations can serve their consumers in an appropriate context, anywhere in the world.”

Intelligent Company Leadership

It takes a significant amount of experience and understanding of the data landscape to lead a company through this journey.  The commitment to becoming an intelligent business will cut across the responsibilities of the C-suite. Additionally, it will transform the traditional data roles, such as a Chief Information Officer, Chief Data Officer, Chief Security Officer and Chief Technology Officer.   There will need to be an executive leadership team decision to evolve one of those roles to take on the responsibility of defining and driving the execution of an intelligent business strategy, or alternatively it may be more suitable to recognize the explicit role of Chief Intelligence Officer. Recognition of this role at this level will also communicate to the industry an implied level of quality, trust, and value as an intelligence-led business.  

1 Bachman, Aref, Lemelin, Paduroiu. Modern Enterprise Data Pipelines. p.2. LINK TBA. 2021.

About the Author: Michael J. Morton

Michael J. Morton is an expert in developing technologies that transform data into valuable intelligence. Formerly, Chief Technology Officer of Boomi, a Dell Technologies company, Michael has led innovations that paved the way for the modern data landscape. In his current role, he is leading research on the foundational role data plays in future technologies and the organizational changes required to become a successful, intelligent business.