Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Ubiquitous computing, social networking and business intelligence

Posted in business and convergent technologies, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on February 6, 2010

Business intelligence is the process of converting raw, undifferentiated and disorganized data into usable business knowledge. Every word of that statement has a very specific intent, and I would start in explaining that with the word “process.” No particular data or knowledge developed as business intelligence can be an all-time end point in and of itself. Good business intelligence has to be updatable as businesses evolve and move on and as do the contexts and opportunities that businesses function in.

“Raw, undifferentiated and disorganized” simply refer to the fact that raw data per se can and does come from many directions and with varying and generally uncertain degrees of reliability, consistency and completeness Data as it initially comes in is not always that effective or useful. Usability comes from organizing and validating data and in putting it into a meaningful context. Business intelligence is the ongoing process of doing that, and in ways that create opportunities by informing options, priorities, and likelihoods and in a time frame that is useful. That can range from understanding the past to know how you got where you are now, the present and where you are now, or possible futures and where you may be going contingent on what decisions and actions you take now.

Even with all of that, everything in business intelligence still comes down to having the raw data though and even simple Web 1.0 networks opened the floodgates to information availability – for all that was centrally published and openly shared online and by customers and potential customers, competitors and potential competitors, suppliers, channel partners and so many more.

With all of this, filtering and even automated pattern recognition became crucial tools and in ways never previously required or possible, and certainly pre-computer. But the real floodgates open when anyone and everyone can add to the flow, and both by intentional acts of information sharing and through automated processes that are invisible to the end user – think tracking cookies here as a simple example of a long list of available transparent data collection channels.

Web 2.0 allows for business intelligence that goes to such fine granularity that what starts as demographics analysis can drill down in depth to the scale of the individual. Some traditional and automatically assumed boundaries blur here, and with real consequences as an ever increasing range of once entirely anonymized analytical processes develop the capabilities to scale to the specific and very individual.

In a way ubiquitous computing and communications completes this process where on an individualized basis as well as from a more generalized demographics basis, it is becoming possible to connect precise time and location stamps to online interactions of all sorts.

• This is all about context, and about developing a richer understanding of everyone in the business environment as knowledge from that data flood is parsed into richly detailed context.
• On the one hand that means creating a potential for local in global and for anyone and everyone and everywhere and all the time. Do you need to find a reliable automobile service station where you can get a bent tire rim fixed or replaced and a new tire, and in an unfamiliar area where you do not know any of the local businesses?
• On the other this raises some fundamental questions as to what constitutes personally identifiable information where that list can and will expand as to data types.
• The due diligence concerns there have to scale with our expanding data collection, parsing and filtering, and analytical capabilities, and in how we develop business intelligence and store it.
• These ongoing, evolving due diligence concerns also have to include effective processes and models as to how all of this is accessed and by whom and where and under what circumstances – they have to connect to and inform how all of this is used.
• That has to include both the raw data and knowledge developed from it and it also has to include access to the black box processes that contain and automate business intelligence tools in use.
• Collectively, these information resources can become the keys to your kingdom.

This issues I raise here connect into several of the ongoing series I have been running on this blog, and in fact are increasingly important for any business or organization, and especially as all of this is changing with the emergence of ubiquitous computing and communications. I will pick up on aspects of this larger topic in subsequent postings, and will only add here as a final thought that all of this is very rapidly changing, and both from new and emerging opportunities and for new and emerging sources of due diligence concern.

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  1. […] this Question into Context that left open questions I have wanted to go back to. Yesterday I posted a note on business intelligence as a process that also connects to this general topic area, and my intent is to follow up on both of those […]

  2. […] Read the original post: Ubiquitous computing, social networking and business intelligence … […]

  3. […] original post here: Ubiquitous computing, social networking and business intelligence … Share and […]


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