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Data is not the new oil!

John Thuma | Data Solutions Group, FIS

July 13, 2020

I love data and have dedicated 30 years of my life to exploring its value. Most commodities are valued based on units of measure. Oil is priced on the barrel, and gold and silver are based on the ounce. We all know data has a unit of measure based on bytes, but that wasn’t good enough for me. For fun, I was wondering if data had weight. It turns out that your laptop, smartphone, and computing devices get heavier as your data volumes increase! Data requires electrons to store and electrons have weight. Believe it or not a single average email weighs in at a whopping two ten-thousandths of a quadrillionth of an ounce! Sorry everyone you aren’t getting a workout because you are carrying your smartphone around! Data and oil can both be measured but should we really compare them to one another?? Let’s focus on this interesting topic next.

Data, stop comparing it to oil

The discovery of oil and its vast uses has changed our lives. In many ways it has made our lives better and there have been many comparisons of data as the new oil. In a recent article ‘Data is the New Oil of the Digital Economy’ the author states: “Data in the 21st Century is like Oil…” Data is exciting, but it is nothing like oil! Oil is difficult to find, refine, transport, heavily regulated, and its use has many people upset about the pollution. Data is easy to find, refine, transport, does not directly pollute, and its use is in the sites of our privacy regulators. The big difference is that data can be copied endlessly at low cost where oil is a use once resource. Data is being used to build new products all the time. Data is also plentiful and growing in availability while oil is finite, and we are discovering new cleaner alternatives every day. FACT: Data will always be with us. Tools may change, but there will always be data and the need for data.

Data is the “App Inside”

Intel inside? Sure, but is that what really matters? Data is the reason we have the computers, clouds, networks, chips, storage, and software that drive our modern economy. For this reason, data is and always has been the real “app inside!” In an article titled ‘7 Reasons Why Your Data is Now More Important Than Ever,’ IDC estimates that “daily digital interactions will grow by more than a factor of 20 over the next 10 years, driven by more online interactions and interactions with digital homes, appliances, vehicles and wearable and implantable devices.” We need more data, we need it now and we need fast access to it. Over 94% of organizations are planning on developing real time streaming apps using Apache Kafka, which is a modern data streaming service, and without data--just like a network without data--the algorithm is useless. Your ability to exploit data is one of your organizations most valuable resources. Data is the new “App.”

Data, it’s about the ‘Pulse of things’

The flow of data, or pulse of data, through an organization can tell you a lot about the health of that organization. Many years ago, I was involved in a grocery retail project which monitored the rate of transactions going across the point of sale. With great accuracy we were able to determine if items moved too fast, too slow, or not at all. The system took a data pulse of the grocery store! Just like your doctor does today. We then determined if there was an out of stock condition, a pricing problem, or an item position problem. Long before the phrase “Data Science,” circa 2001, we could route messages to people working in the store to replenish stock on shelves at near real-time.

Conclusion: I dare you to live without data!

Many FI’s feel overwhelmed with the amount of data and the work required to harness it. This can lead to paralysis and cause many to limit what they’re doing with data in a new data centric world! “It’s too much for me,” is a common refrain! What some do is rely their gut, heuristics, and popular opinion! Even before the pandemic the business environment dictated that we make decisions based on facts and not guesses. All that simply accelerated with the dramatic rise in uncertainty and the critical need to see through the fog. Data can help you improve your customers’ lives, help them through tough times, and build a more efficient tomorrow. Today, FIS is making significant investments that will help make your access and use of data fast, easier and more meaningful because we know that data is here to stay, growing exponentially, and we’re running blind without it. Talk with you FIS rep today and learn about what FIS is doing to empower your data future.