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March 19, 2013


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Chris Coyne

Chris: one of the most important elements concerning data and 'big data' now is context, as you say. That can translate to lineage and traceability - key elements of the Basel and Solvency regulatory compliance philosophies, but also now the same is demanded for the telco, pharma, energy and retail supply chain sectors, as they all grow to depend on their data, and start to be regulated under the 'know your customer' banner.
Since most large institutions have heterogeneous IT environments, the key to context is control of your metadata (and in turn, your 'big metadata'). This trend will augment, and in my opinion eventually replace, ERP systems, datamarts and enterprise data warehouses.
And no-one wants to convert to,or pay for,a single platform/system any more. That means the 'spaghetti' architectures and code will persist and obtaining a proper enterprise view will rely on metadata control to present unified data for boards, regulators and shareholders.
Just as in the 3rd Pillar of the Basel and Solvency regs, embedding this transparancy and traceability in day to day operations is also good business practice, and might permit you to release capital reserves as a business, or confidently deal with your loyal customers as they ask for better deals.
So let's hear about metadata soon in the same breaths as data and big data. I know it's technical, but so are the phrases 'IP address' and 'URL', which have now passed into the public vernacular.

Will Gibson

Chris — Once again, you hit the nail on its head. A few of us have been arguing this point for more than a decade … I am glad that we are on the same side of the argument.

Paul Peters

For Big Data... it is worth reading up on the lessons from AI, specific Rodney Brooks / Marvin Minsky's approach on representationless models (http://people.csail.mit.edu/brooks/papers/representation.pdf). It is wise to look into evolving ontologies (emerging metadata).

Where this hits the road... lately I've been wondering how damaging it is to advocate renewal with outdated tools… Some business professors i know were very enthusiastically advocating "balance score cards" but never bothered to keep track of the further evolutions in that space. Companies that (in)directly follow these guidelines, while in need of a future, update from the distant past to a recent past, but it’ll never allow them ahead.
Accounting itself has become quite outdated and incapable of dealing with the variety of new ways of cooperation and collaboration, outsourcing and insourcing, the shift to a knowledge economy… where credibility and goodwill dominate, where a customer is a collaborative provider of a company’s demand and income, instead of a sort of garbage bin at the end of a sales pipeline.

In that sense normal accounting and CAPEX vs OPEX ideas may have grown wrong.. There needs to be a new way of accounting, based on swarm intelligence, gestalt theory, power laws, event simulation and other paradigms. I wonder how damaging it is for investors and the economy that we’re still using administrative tools that are modelled on 19th century thermodynamics.

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