How CXOs Are Mishandling Big Data

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 31, 2014

big data confusion

The biggest obstacle preventing companies from taking full advantage of their data is because are CXOs still holding on to outdated information-sharing policies, according to Jeff Jonas, IBM fellow and chief scientist of Context Computing.

In a recent WSJ Blog post, Jonas pointed out that oftentimes, each division rigorously guards its information from the other divisions. The result of keeping information under secrecy or in isolation by decision makers in business leads to the fact that organizations miss on the obvious.

“The gold puzzle piece in the left hand is unaware of the red puzzle piece in the right hand. Imagine a large retailer unwittingly hiring people they have previously arrested–at the same store. True story, this really happens, writes Jonas in his blog.

Isolating information causes an organization to distort communicate, waste resources, and underwhelm their customers. If an organization wants to break free from this trend, a critical first step involves making information discoverable – accessible and more transparent.

“The best metaphor I know of that highlights the simplicity of information discoverability, is the index card catalog system at a library. The card catalog provides a single place to look in order to locate every document in the building, whether it’s a book, map, DVD or some other tangible asset. And all of the index cards are in one place, indexed by things like subject, title and author; and related documents right there next to the card you may be looking at such as, other books by the same author,” mentions Jonas.

Isolating information causes an organization to miss the obvious, waste resources, and underwhelm their customers. If an organization wants to break free from this trend, a critical first step involves making information discoverable.
-Jeff Jonas, IBM fellow and chief scientist of Context Computing

He urges CXOs to think more rationally when it comes to framing an information policy. He states if a new document or information arrives and a library-like index card is not provided for the librarian to place into the central index–then how is anyone going to efficiently find this information later? The same principle is applicable to the world of business.

Maximizing the value of an enterprise’s information assets starts with the ability to find data when you need it. Technology is not the barrier on this front. Therefore Jonas believe that the most likely barrier is an outdated information sharing policy.