Blogger: Larry Cannell
If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend watching this video of Gary Flake’s presentation at TED, where he talks about new ideas for dealing with the overwhelming amount of information in our lives.
Flake, a Technical Fellow at Microsoft Live Labs, starts out with this introduction:
“The whole of the data, in which we consume, is greater than the sum of its parts. Instead of thinking about information overload, what I'd like you to think about is how we can use information so that patterns pop and we can see trends that would otherwise be invisible."
This perspective is similar to what Craig Roth recently said about the assumptions we make regarding information overload.
“Can't questioning a few overly used assumptions yield some new avenues of exploration? If one assumes that information overload is within the realm of consciousness and under rational control, different solutions can apply.”
After watching the video (which visualizes mortality rates, magazine covers and Wikipedia pages) think about the overwhelming amount of information that exists just within your enterprise. This is information only you have and, as a result, can be the genesis of insight that helps separate you from competitors, if only you could tap into it.
In other words, instead of just “managing” documents and databases, what if we could work past existing assumptions and envision how information might be used to create competitive advantage (e.g., resulting in new products, entering new markets, or lowering costs). To start with, imagine being able to help knowledge workers explore and visualize information in ways that are relevant to them, instead of forcing them to fetch information on a system-by-system basis and then putting the pieces together themselves. For example, an engineer surfing through information about product programs (regardless of where this information comes from, be it a content management system, e-mail, a warranty claims system, or a bill of materials application) or a purchasing agent getting a complete picture of suppliers that provide a particular type of component.
We will be covering this perspective on information in a track called “Leveraging Information to Gain Insight” at this year’s Catalyst Conferences in Prague and San Diego.
By the way, Pivot is available as a Windows desktop application, so you can start experiencing what it is like to explore data now. More information is on the Pivot website.