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Grab a Big Data Surfboard or Get Left Behind!

“Land was wealth 300 years ago. So, the person who owned the land owned the wealth. Later wealth was in factories and production, and America rose to dominance. The industrialist owned the wealth. Today, wealth is in information. And the person who has the most timely information owns the wealth. The problem is that information flies around the world at the speed of light. The new wealth cannot be contained by boundaries and borders as land and factories were. The changes will be faster and more dramatic. There will be a dramatic increase in number of new multimillionaires. There also will be those left behind.”
Two things strike me in this quote by Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad.

The first is that it encapsulates the world we live in now. A world where information is power. We see this in practice today as the biggest companies now are the ones who use data the same way companies 100 years ago used oil. Nothing new here.

The second thing is that those who control the information will be successful and more importantly those who do, not, will be left behind. This my biggest fear right now. Watching so many businesses being left behind because they don’t have control of information.

Experts have talked about Industry 4.0, the Information Age, the power of Big Data, etc. ad nauseum. But people are not talking much about those being left behind. At least not in the context of being data-driven.

The past two years we have talked a lot about the Trump voter, feeling left behind financially. But we aren’t talking much about the data starved companies that employed a lot of them.

We all know that automation, innovation and globalization combined to spell the end of a lot of companies. But we don’t really talk about how the same companies ultimately ended up failing because they didn’t understand how to use their data better.

Big Data represents a massive wave of disruption that will continue to smash companies like a tsunami.

Only those who can ride the wave successfully will be prepared. Analytics is our surfboard to make sure our organization doesn’t get left behind and that we are able to surf the Big Data wave.

Those that master analytics are the new multimillionaire that Kiyosaki mentions. They use data science, build predictive

models and have figured out machine learning and artificial intelligence.

The ones that are left behind are the ones still using MS Excel to do rudimentary reporting. Even ones who have started using some basic business intelligence tools and are gaining valuable insight from their data will struggle against the bigger, more data-driven competitors that make multimillionaires of the best data surfers.

One way to know if your organization is in trouble is ask this one simple question. Does the way data is used inside your business look like the way data is used in your personal life? Can we do at work what we can do with Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Google, etc. at home?

In most cases there is probably a pretty big gap. We process data at work in batches, sometimes only at month end. The analysis takes days and the reports we use to make decisions are only looking at the past. We know who our customers have been, but we are guess who they will be in the future.

We hire people not on who is likely to bring the most value to our business, but the one with the best resume and the best interview skills. Does any of this sound familiar?

If it does than that sound you hear in the background, getting louder and starting to impact what you do is the wave of disruption.

If you don’t want to be left behind, crushed by big data, and you want your organization to keep making millionaires than you had better start learning to surf and to do that, you will need a high-quality board.
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