Smarter data: big data vs. big questions

Many sectors are facing the need to increase data collection to meet Government or industry compliance regulations. And that data then needs to be used at operational, tactical and strategic levels. But how to make the best use of that data? That was the question raised at the TEFMA Smarter Data Workshop in Canberra this month.

Both Tom Clarke from SPM Assets New Zealand and Russell Caird from SPM Assets Australia attended, and share their key takeaways from the two-day event.

Tom Clarke, SPM Assets New Zealand:

“A quote that stood out for me on the day is: “the data is not the problem – the question is the problem”.

In other words, it’s about knowing what to collect, when to collect it, and how to use the resulting analysis is as important as collecting vast quantities of information in search of mystical insights.

What people ultimately want is not big data but big answers. What question do you want to answer? Understanding this is likely to cut through a lot of complexity and save you time and money.

A key insight from the workshop is that simplifying asset management and providing business intelligence using smart tools is as relevant today as when SPM first started nearly 20 years ago.”

Russell Caird, SPM Assets Australia:

“The increasing need for data-driven insights and decision-support tools, based on ever-improving datasets, is a key requirement in the management of university facilities.

The ability to access systems and the tools, such as those available from SPM Assets, are critical to establishing a base and developing a strategy to improve data over time for smarter and better decision making.

Notwithstanding the opportunities and challenges of big data, the key message remains to get the basics right and know the ‘end game’ of your data collection initiatives. It’s easy to chase the gold at the end of the smarter data rainbow, but having pragmatic and realistic goals aligned to targeted outcomes is the key to value adding ‘smarter data’.”

Next step

If you’re facing data overwhelm in your organisation, please contact us – we’ll gladly talk through your data headaches and see if we can make data management easier and more meaningful for you.