Data is the New Bacon

I saw a t-shirt the other day that read “Data is the new Bacon.” To me, that was funny. Everything is the new “something-else” these days. Bacon is a popular food, and is now being added to everything. It’s been on pizza forever and it’s being added to bagels and even ice cream. Bacon is hip, cool, and satisfies that special craving. Bacon is not just a breakfast food anymore. It is best to eat bacon while it is hot – and better to focus on data when it is hot too.

Data is hot because everything seems to always come back to the data. And there is so much of it – often referred to as Big Data. Data lies at the heart of serving your customers, making decisions, planning, strategizing and executing or improving on “business as usual”. It’s all in the data.

Data is front page news – especially for those organizations that are not protecting their data. Mergers and acquisitions are based on data. Polls and elections are data-centric. Data drives the economy and Wall Street, health and wellness, employment, transportation, research … in fact I challenge you to find a subject to discuss that does not focus on data. Data drives everything we do.

But data (and the understanding of the data) is not always a straight forward subject. Data can be served in many different ways just like bacon. Sometimes you may find yourself digging through the food to find the bacon first. That nugget of bacon – Just like that nugget of data – that make eating that food or digesting the subject more special. Data – unless we know how that data is defined, how that data is produced, and how that data is supposed to be used – can be very misleading.

A baseball player that strikes out at a .667 clip (two-thirds of the time) is not considered a good player. Unless the data behind that statistic tells us that he has only played in one game for three at-bats, it was against a Cy Young Award winner, and he homered in his other at-bat. In that case, he just might be that potential league MVP the team had drafted.

The phrases “4 out of 5”, “maximum speeds”, “buy two get one”, “50 percent off” – or even “leading the polls by 13%” all have a data focus. All of these phrases and associated statistics demonstrate what people want you to think, when the real facts may lead you to a different conclusion. The statistics are used to get your attention, make you a believer, gain support and exposure, and most importantly increase the chance that you will buy a certain product. (And, yes, I referred to the Presidential campaign as sales event.) Again, statistics can be used to say anything you want. The first thing we do is “the math” to determine the true cost. Smart shoppers research the price before they buy, the price after and all relevant details when determining the best deal. (I wish I could say the same regarding voters.)

Data is hot because it is being recognized as currency, the more you have the richer you are. Some people or businesses do not have enough of their own data so they want your data. And they try to steal it. Some people and organizations hoard data like it is going out of style. Some think they are better or more important if the knowledge they have cannot be found anywhere else. The more data the better. Because it is all in the data.

When was the last time you withheld information or data for your own good or in the best interest of your family or business? When was the last time you became invaluable because of the knowledge, information or data that you had? These can be hourly, daily, weekly and/or monthly events. Data in the form of the information or knowledge you have can put you at the top of the food chain. Speaking of food … Have I told you that Data is the New Bacon?

Data is hot because of the amount of data that is now available and the things you can do with it. Connecting through the Internet of Things to adjust your thermostat on your drive home from the shore, or having your garage door notify you when it was left open, or your carton of milk notifying you and your grocer that you are low on 2% – all of these things require the transfer of … you guessed it – data.

Some people think statistics do not lie. I beg to differ. People can get statistics to say almost anything they want, while other people will use those statistics to make their points – no matter what the subject is. The truth is that we consciously and subconsciously do what we do because of data and statistics. No wonder data is so hot.

Organizations are embracing the idea of “data as an asset”. Organizations are hiring Chief Data Officers at an expanding rate. Organizations are starting or strengthening their data governance programs. I am very happy about this activity around data for obvious reasons. [Visit KIKconsulting.com or read my new book to learn all about my Non-Invasive Data Governance™ approach.] Predictive Analytics, Smart Data, Big Data, Data Lakes, and Metadata Management are all presently very hot subjects. They all have to do with data and getting the most out of the data we have.

I love data. Everything about it. I like bacon too, but it is not as good for me as data. Data is hot. Data is the new Bacon.

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About Robert S. Seiner

Robert S. (Bob) Seiner is the publisher of The Data Administration Newsletter (TDAN.com) – and has been since it was introduced in 1997 – providing valuable content for people that work in Information & Data Management and related fields. TDAN.com is known for its timely and relevant articles, columns and features from thought-leaders and practitioners. Seiner and TDAN.com were recognized by DAMA International for significant and demonstrable contributions to Information and Data Resource Management industries. Seiner is the President and Principal of KIK Consulting & Educational Services, a data and information management consultancy that he started in 2002, providing practical and cost-effective solutions in the disciplines of data governance, data stewardship, metadata management and data strategy. Seiner is a recognized industry thought-leader, has consulted with and educated many prominent organizations nationally and globally, and is known for his unique approach to implementing data governance. His book “Non-Invasive Data Governance: The Path of Least Resistance and Greatest Success” was published in late 2014. Seiner speaks often at the industry’s leading conferences and provides a monthly webinar series titled “Real-World Data Governance” with DATAVERSITY.

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