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'Without Data you are Just another Person with an Opinion'
By Neil Fraser, Director Strategy & And Information, Macquarie University
In saying this, William Denning, renowned U.S. engineer, statistician, professor, and author was encapsulating the importance of data to drive better decisions and improve planning to drive overall value. Never in this digital age has this been more relevant. To make data into meaningful information is a journey which requires discipline, interpretation, and often applied analytics. In business this can be as simple as understanding how the data will increase net new customers, brand premium and revenue whilst keeping costs flat. However, there is an industrial aspect to data that all industries are now seeing drive entirely new business models.
In this ‘age of data’, companies that have embedded this data advantage into the ‘DNA’ of their new business models have disrupted entire industries.
A couple of well-known examples are the largest taxi firm is now Uber, the largest accommodation provider is AirBnB, the largest retailer is split between Amazon and Alibaba and the largest phone company is split between Skype, WhatsApp and WeChat.
To Make Data Into Meaningful Information Is A Journey Which Requires Discipline, Interpretation, And Often Applied Analytics
Perhaps this new disruptive low cost business data model is one where the CIO will own the data revenue line. Alternatively, a new role in organizations may be required to reflect the new industrial data wave. In industry and government, we are seeing CIOs moving to become Chief Digital Officer, the emergence of Chief Data Officer and an increasing number of junior and senior data scientist job roles on the market to fill a growing need to develop data as an organizational asset. An easier option is to partner with Universities where talent in data and computing science is nurtured through research and professional development.
As the age of data requires new workforce skills the importance of bridging the education gap becomes even more relevant. Universities are responding with changes to course content and new degrees in Data Science and Business Analytics. The call to action is for Universities and business to come together with a research and innovation agenda that pushes the data frontier forward. Industry provides their machine data and Universities grant the intellectual power to drive rapid innovation and drive bottom line profitability.