February 23, 2017 | Written by: David Jenness
Categorized: Enterprise Content Management
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Thomas Friedman, the New York Times writer, in his new book, “Thank You For Being Late,” focuses on the challenges of living in “the Age of Acceleration.” Moore’s Law has held steady for 50 years, doubling computer processing power every 18 months, and now Cloud, Mobile and Social Media have converged to create a “supernova of Information” and frankly, says Friedman, we can’t handle it.
The book displays a simple graph that Eric Teller, CEO of Google X, drew that plots the pace of technology over time. It is a line that flows left to right and slightly upward until about 1990 when it starts to turn steeply upward, getting sharper each year. Juxtaposed with the pace of technology is another line that he calls Human Adaptability. It also flows along left to right at a slowly increasing pace, staying close to the Pace of Technology until 2007 when a gap begins to open between the pace of technology and our ability to adapt to it. Friedman points out that 2007 is the year that the first iPhone was introduced, as well as the first full year for such names as Twitter, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, Android, and Watson.
In a way, doesn’t this explain a lot?
The gap between the speed of change and our ability to cope with it explains why so many people complain that they don’t feel in control anymore. It explains why a lot of people want to slam on the brakes and go back to a simpler time. There is a fire hose of information in our face every day and we just don’t have the tools to manage it.
But this is where we need to start thinking like problem solvers.
As humans, we depend on our five senses to understand what is happening in our physical world. However, information is silent, invisible, wispy as a ghost. This is where analytics come in, to monitor information and report back to us what is happening in our information world.
Just as we depend on the sensors in our car for intelligent advice about fuel supply, tire pressure, engine cycles, vehicle speed and what’s behind us when we back up, we can harness analytics to filter the fire hose of information. With analytics, we can cross-examine millions of documents for relevant information and give us intelligent advice to make the right decision. We can monitor our systems for performance, too, and receive intelligent advice about our storage capacity, throughput, team productivity, and general system health. We can use analytics to investigate and find incidents of fraud and theft in claims, loan applications and benefits requests.
I think of analytics as a sixth sense, one that can help our brains process and operate more efficiently in the “supernova.” Contrary to M. Night Shayamalan’s thrilling 1999 film, “The Sixth Sense,” where his protagonist sees dead people, analytics gives us a sixth sense to see data. And when we can make information visual and tactile, then we can do what we’re being paid to do – make smart decisions and take confident action.
At the 2017 AIIM Conference in Orlando (March 14-16), I have a roundtable on this very topic: “I See Data —Why analytics is your sixth sense for information.” We’ll gather on Wednesday, March 15 at 4:25 PM and I’ll have a few client stories to share on how analytics on content has been used to build some very interesting applications. I’m very much looking forward to hearing from anyone in the room at AIIM 2017 on their experiences with analytics, their plans and their opinions. I’ll see you there, and I promise not to reveal the ending of the movie.