Saturday, March 02, 2013

Silver Bullet

For the past few weeks I have been working with a client to solve a losely defined problem. As is often the case, the symptoms of process and technology malaises manifest themseleves in deeply uncomfortable ways. What is seen to be "the problem" is  not what needs solving - but that is a difficult message to communicate and have understood. What we have here is a customer experience (and perception) issue. The operations folk are following the playbook faithfully and for the most part doing a good job.

This is a data driven organization and by most measures doing very well. And yet there is this pool of deeply unhappy customers that are making their displeasure known very vocally and attracting a lot of media attention in the process- somehow the data is not able to pin point the sources of their frustration. We get to hear from Big Data solution providers all the time - the sales people will work incredibly hard to demo what their product can do. Often I have wondered how it is that a solution so powerful cannot be truly demonstrated with my data and rather commonplace problems that I am helping to solve.

While many other have used the silver bullet to incredible advantage, I am still stuck doing things the old fashioned way - a chaotic mix of experience, intution and analysis. Many things about this article hit close to home for me.

The trick, as Morozov and Lanier remind us, is not to surrender our judgment to the deluge

Most of all, we have to know what we want to achieve and what we want big data to do. Otherwise, like the previous iterations of internet futurism, big data will remain a showy buzzword – full of sound and fury, signifying very little.

This artice gets it right to - why Big Data is not the whole story but being able to tell the story around the insights is what makes the difference.

The data needs to be transformed into bite-sized (pre-chewed, even) stories that can easily stick in the brains of your audience

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