The facts are straightforward and unavoidable: the modern reliance of business and consumers on technology means the amount of information we produce continues to increase.
The amount of digital information grew 62% to 800 billion gigabytes during 2009 when compared to 2008, according to research from EMC (see further reading, below). The 1.2 zettabytes of information expected to be created in 2010 would be equal to every man, woman and child on Earth “tweeting” continuously for 100 years.
The problem is not going away either. More than 60% of chief executives (CEOs) cite industry transformation and the information explosion as the most significant factors facing their organisations during the next five years, according to IBM (see further reading).
And if the CEO is concerned about a technology issue, then you know you have an important issue on your hands. So, how can the business cope with the surge in demand for knowledge?
It is a crucially important question. Data comes in a number of structured and unstructured forms. These multiple forms create stoves of information that are useless unless the business can understand what data the organisation holds and why.
Understanding such questions will allow the business to ask the most important questions of all: what does this information mean and how can we use it to serve our customers better?
To answer such questions, you need to get a grip on information management. As a starting point, data warehousing techniques – a repository of organisational information – must be allied to broader business objectives.
Create an interface that allows your workers to understand what is actually being held in the warehouse. Then use carefully selected analytics to successfully navigate through the ocean of business data.
Such navigation does not have to be a rough ride, either. Careful integration can allow employees to make real time decisions based on data they can trust.
The effects of the information explosion continue to radiate outwards. But the right technology tools will help you control the impact on your business.