How Data In The Information Age Compares With Oil In The Industrial Revolution

Follow the data. Data highlights behavioral patterns. That's the mantra for 2013. Marketers have found most events are predictable using statistical analysis, even when it comes down to word choice in comments and recommendations. Data will become the most critical driver of the information age, similar to oil in the industrial age, but many marketers are ill-prepared to make decisions in real time.

Arvind J. Singh, co-founder and CEO of Utopia, a global data lifecycle consulting-and-services firm, compares mining oil to extract into gasoline that makes cars run, with mining raw data to extract into actionable information that improves marketing campaigns.

Both oil and data require expertise to extract benefits from raw resources. But usnlike oil, data doesn't evaporate once used. The value continues to grow as marketers add new pieces of data, Singh says. "Similar to the way oil fuels an important piece of the industrial revolution, data fuels an important piece of the information age," he says. "The difference is one grows in value, gains strength and reusable, while the other gets spent."



Singh calls data the building blocks that develop insights, and suggests marketers need to follow and manage information lifecycles.

Marketers are not the only ones trying to understand data. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence supports research projects with 14 universities in the United States, Europe, and Israel that predicts significant common or social events by mining Google searches, Facebook posts, and publicly available social-media and online data in Twitter and other sites, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

"The recent explosion in data analytics ushered in by the social-media era holds huge promise for making increasingly accurate predictions about the future," reports Bloomberg, citing Thomas Malone, director of the Center for Collective Intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

1 comment about "How Data In The Information Age Compares With Oil In The Industrial Revolution".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct, February 6, 2013 at 6:26 p.m.

    Interesting thinking. Big data will discover some really interesting insights. But for the majority of companies and situations it looks like big data will only lead to vast investment in finding trees, while ignoring the forest. It was good to read the Nate Silver comments about the mis-use of big data in his book about predicting. Interesting analogy, though.

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