Myths provide explanations for underlying patterns and help make sense of the world. Big data and analytics have developed a mythology rooted in underlying assumptions. Myths can also obscure reality and confuse rather than enlighten. They impede progress and misdirect our efforts.
We need to ignore these myths and think clearly about how organizations use data, which means understanding how people use information and make decisions. Analytics is not a wave that washes away everything that came before. It’s a wave that leaves new stuff alongside the old when the tide recedes. We need to think about how our efforts fit into that seemingly disordered larger picture.
Mark Madsen is a research analyst at Third Nature, where he advises companies on data strategy and technology planning. Mark has designed analysis, data collection, and data management infrastructure for companies worldwide. He focuses on two types of work: the business applications of data and guiding the construction of data infrastructure. As a result, Mark does as much information strategy and IT architecture work as he does performance management and analytics.
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