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Three Data dimensions in Digital Ecosystems

Three buzzwords converge interestingly in a digital ecosystem, “Analytics”, “Data” and “Cloud” . To be very simplistic and illustrative, lets picture these three buzzwords in terms of a shiny rocket. “Analytics” is a powerful engine that exacerbate insights, “Cloud” is a chassis that enable mobility & ubiquity and “Data” is the fuel that generates insightful knowledge. All components are very relevant in a Digital Ecosystem but “data" will be the point of discussion this time. Data is a key element that enables and empowers a transformation agenda in a digital ecosystem. Simplistically, no data, no fuel, no motion!

In my opinion, there are 3 dimensions that underpin the role of data in a Digital Ecosystem. These dimensions can be discussed in terms of the following questions: what are types of data out there?, how to manage data in order to get the right information? and, how the value of data can be better understood?

In a digital ecosystem, everything seems to start with data and leads to get "the right information". Perhaps, the famous Napoleon Bonaparte knew it some time ago. He did not even live in the Information Age but he identified and stated the competitive advance of knowing "the right information":

"War is ninety percent information." --Napoleon Bonaparte, French Military and Political Leader

Data is raw and has an embryonic stage that leads to “the right information". Data has no meaning on its own but can drive value if carefully massaged. I like the idea of explaining the concept of Data in terms of rocks. No worries, just for the purpose of an explanation!

It is quite simple to find a rock, most of us have played with them and often do not recognize any value on them. Nonetheless, we also identify diamonds as the hardest naturally occurring substance. To get a clear and colorless diamond is a tough process. Kimberlite is taken to a crushing device and broken into transparent, clean and pure segments. If lucky, a diamond will appear and a long-lasting value as well. Finding a diamond is not easy but its rewarding price is worth. The same happens with data. Data has an inherent value but it has to be discerned from its raw and basic format.

Fundamentally, there are three types of rocks: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic. This classification is based on rocks source and change phase. Igneous rocks are primarily classified due to its magma-source and composition in comparison to metamorphic rocks. Similarly, data can be also classified based on their source and format. But, what are the types of data out there?

In today´s world, technology provides capabilities to acquire, prepare, analyze, validate and operationalised a tremendous amount of data. Transforming raw data in order to get the right information is not as simple task. Data is a raw product that becomes information once structured. Even so, the next step is even more relevant, how to get the right information? Getting the right information happens when novel and profound information is extracted from data to allow competitive advantage, so-called actionable insights. Thus, how to manage data in order to get the right information?

Like rocks, we often prefer a type of data over others. Rocks hold particular characteristics that precede their value, so better to understand these characteristics in order to realise the best out of them. For example, we may prefer structured data because its quality of being organized can provide better insights in comparison to unstructured data. But, data has to be treated, processed and productized based on their inherent characteristics to outperform its value. Thus, how the value of data can be better understood?

n my opinion, three relevant data dimensions underpin a digital ecosystem. These dimensions deserved better understanding in any organization that aims to start a digital transformation journey. You need to respond yourself, what data types?, what data characteristics? and what data management phases are supporting your Digital Ecosystem? Take specific actions with detailed answers to these questions and convey your digital journey. Remember Data has its own multi-dimensional outlook!

Author: Dr. Jorge Orozco Vargas

Opinions expressed in this article are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.​

#digitaltransformation #digitalstrategy #bigdata #digitalecosystem #ITstrategy #digitaleconomy

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