Fish and data

Data is cool. First, its very name is both singular and plural, like sheep or fish. (And don’t get all grammatical on me, you datum-is-singular apologists.) Second, it’s so definitive – something is 57% or it isn’t. Pi is 3.14159-etc. Sure, you can argue about the data gathering, integrity, interpretation and the like. But, at least you are arguing about the objective, rather than the subjective.

But, what I really like about data is what it reveals about all things measured. It’s in that vein that I’ve been picking up a few interesting recent developments about data, measurement, and the public sector.

First, I read a really good write-up about website measurement in the Google Public sector blog. It’s a really nice case example of data analytics 101 for a website. And, just like the writer, I have had that same giddy feeling when reviewing data from a website’s traffic and other stats.

Second, there was a good write-up about the social media side of data gathering and measurement in InformationWeek. It discusses the CIA’s investment in the social media monitoring from Visible Technologies. Good stuff, but not especially unique – you can get listeners, monitoring, and semantic trending built into nGenera’s collaboration server right now.

Third, we just published our 2010 research agenda for nGenera’s Government Insight program and are excited about some of the research vectors we intend to explore. In the major topic area of “Leading in the age of unbounded data,” we expect to cover into listening, massively customized analytics, orchestrating, and methods for reaching beyond stereotypes.

Content may be king, but data is the kingmaker. If you haven’t done so in a while, I recommend you brush up on the latest in data analytics, visualization and simulation. In a world awash in data, the ability to interpret and apply it in real-time will be increasingly a critical success factor differentiating between market leaders and followers, whether they be public or private sector.

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