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Only the brain can interpret Big Data

September 24, 2012
In the future, Business Intelligence will become even more dependent on the synergy between man and computer. This is the opinion of TARGIT’s CTO, Morten Middelfart.

”Going from a time where you analyzed data you owned or were in control of, you will, in the future, look even more into data that is beyond your control. For instance, the data that comes to you via the internet”, the CTO explains referring to the concept of “Big Data”.

Big data gets bigger
Big Data refers to the special tools and processes that we deploy in order to handle and make use of huge amounts of data, but the limits are constantly being pushed as the amount of data grows.

Renowned analysis institute, Forrester, defines Big Data as “techniques and technologies which will make data handling in an extreme degree financially obtainable”. At the same time, Forrester says that “Big Data is not like your traditional BI tools; it will take new processes and will redefine your approach to data governance totally”.

”Today, Business Intelligence users know traditional BI very well. It is not about the quality of data as this is not an issue anymore”, says Morten Middelfart. ”Big Data requires a totally different approach. An approach that takes  its point of departure in the product philosophy that TARGIT is deploying when developing our BI software; the synergy between man and computer”, he says, and continues: ”your brain is phenomenal when it comes to understanding and interpreting patterns, but it can only accommodate and handle small amounts of data. On the contrary, a computer can handle and present large amounts of data. Especially, in regards to Big Data, being rarely able to get a complete overview of all data, the human factor is extremely important. Therefore, as a human being, you need to use your common sense to evaluate which of the given data are important at the time and to relate to the quality of those given data and the information, it brings”.

When speaking of Big Data, Morten Middelfart refers to all data types. ”The Internet is overflowing with unstructured Big Data, while at the same time, computers that automatically send GPS locations deliver Big Data, but in a structured form. Management decisions based on Big Data pertains to handling an enormous stream of fast data. And this will challenge both the brain and the computer in an entirely new way”. 

Business Intelligence is about management
After implementing a Business Intelligence tool, computers can help the employees get an overview of the organization’s performance. More importantly, from a synergy point of view, the computer is capable of notifying the employees about challenges, problems or potential opportunities.  It is then up to the individual employee to decide how to use these notifications. The idea is that the computer monitors the most trivial data - leaving us to use our human capabilities in situations where interpretation and decisions are more complex. 

“Our product contains agents that are able to monitor different types of data. In this way, the software monitors the organization’s operations while allowing the employees more time to focus on leading the organization in the right direction”, TARGIT’s CTO explains. “It also means that the employees will have more time to focus on Big Data, which is primarily data beyond your company’s reach and control. This is the reason why bringing in other techniques to be able to use Big Data for business purposes plays an important role. You need to dynamically relate to fragments, trends and quality of information to get knowledge of the behavior that is beyond the control of your organization”. 

According to Morten Middelfart, Big Data is really about a management mindset rather than a technology. “You are rarely able to have control of all data or to analyze it entirely. As a leader, you need to make some choices to stay focused on what is important to you in the wide sea of Big Data. Therefore, the synergy between man and computer becomes even more important for our future success”, the CTO concludes.


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