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The world has been generating data since centuries. It was recorded in whatever forms were available with time. The start of computer increased the storage capacity rapidly and it is continuing. Look around today and see how much data is being generated every minute. We see hundreds of cameras in shops, offices, homes, on roads, which are continuously generating data. Millions of mobile phones are generating and storing data every second. The office workers in all trades and industries are generating data. Internet in its various forms is generating huge amounts of data.
The question is what is being done with this data? When the data analytics started, there was serious shortage of experts who could handle big data. The developed countries quickly built up their capability while countries like us are still lagging. Data Sciences are being taught now in some universities though the questions about quality of teaching remain. We know that most of the data generated in Pakistan is not put to any use because the required expertise is not there. Our organizations do not take decisions based on data. They are still operating in the previous ages where discretion dominates decision making over data. There are fewer organizations who have recognized the importance of data and rely on it for setting and adjusting their direction.
What does the future look like? The research says that organizations shall be more and more data driven, even entirely data driven. I would like to refer to a recent report from McKinsey which gives a snapshot of the data driven enterprise of 2025. The link appears at the end.
2025 is not far, it is nearby. We should also understand that AI – Artificial Intelligence is entirely based on and makes use of data to take decisions. A hallmark of data-driven enterprises would be that they would be using AI for many jobs.
McKinsey charts out seven characteristics of data-driven enterprises, which I copy below. [Quote]
- Data is embedded in every decision, interaction, and process.
- Data is processed and delivered in real time.
- Flexible data stores enable integrated, ready-to-use data.
- Data operating model treats data like a product.
- The chief data officer’s role is expanded to generate value.
- Data-ecosystem memberships are the norm.
- Data management is prioritized and automated for privacy, security, and resiliency.
If we look at these characteristics and compare, we shall know we are far behind. Some of the major issues we are facing may be listed below.
- Most offices are using pirated software which does not offer full array of features. Our data gets corrupted and wasted easily. The use of pirated software is necessitated by economic reasons in smaller businesses and for no reason in larger businesses. Our corporates still consider IT as expense and not an investment in the future.
- The data is now like spine of an organism, without it the organism cannot work. However, same importance is not yet granted to it.
- The equipment used in offices is too old and does not support new software.
- The staff does not have knowhow of the new options. They need extensive training which is neither approved by management nor accepted by the staff.
- There is a cost to technical upgrade which the management is not willing to incur.
- There is either no IT infrastructure in the organization, or a very basic one which does not support new technology. This would need to be upgraded.
- The entrepreneurs are not well versed with the importance of data and therefore are not inclined to invest in this segment.
These are just some of the basic issues. And these have been mentioned to set the perspective.
This subject needs diving more deeply to understand what data can do and shall do whether we participate in it or not.
We shall take it up in the next post.
To be Continued……
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