There is a saying, “Data is the new oil.” When it is raw and unrefined it has little or no value, but after it is refined, exported, and transformed it is worth lots of money. And like unrefined oil, raw data can be turned into many products, each with their own consequences for our businesses and our economy. Loss of data through data breaches (or like oil through spills) has huge ramifications. Hence only proper management and good governance can ensure that raw data will provide lasting value.
There is a key difference between the oil and data. Once oil is transformed into petrol or plastics, it is used up. You can’t use the same gallon of crude oil over and over to solve new problems (and yes we are ignoring recycling here) – but you can, and do, re-use raw data – it is truly the ultimate renewable resource!
Consider web-traffic for a website or maybe even behavior tracking in a product. That data can be examined in multiple ways. An AI system could provide insights about your visitor paths, entry points, and more. And as an owner/manager of that service, you will take different actions depending on those insights and the path into that data you traverse. Maybe after investigating and drilling in, you discover users convert if they come from a certain Keyword search and you would want to increase your SEO… but that same data, examined differently – traversed in a different path – would also lead you to understand that certain countries or time-zones are visiting your new material, adjusting when you push updates. And of course, looking at current vs historical trends is vital. Data keeps coming back.
The data has real value only when it supports an end user in their achievement of a goal. The data, the relationship between one piece of data and another, and even the data’s structure – that is what an end user needs to explore, to traverse, to combine, and to analyze. And unlike oil, that same data can and will be used and reused.
So what do we call these types of data-centric applications? This is not a form or data entry application. The focus here is on exploring, investigating, and taking action based on data. It isn’t a simple business intelligence (BI) or dashboarding solution that reports data in preconfigured ways.
The answer is that they are data-intensive applications.
Continue reading in our next article: Are You a Data-Intensive Application? [Yes]
Cover Photo by John Mark Arnold on Unsplash