THE BLOG

In Today's World, Data Is As Crucial As Oil

The Gold Rush is over, and as we have moved more and more into the digital realm, the brand new commodity is data – because everything depends on it.

26/04/2017 03:59 SAST | Updated 26/04/2017 06:22 SAST
alvarez/ Getty Images

Since 2006 when Clive Humby first said it, it's been a precursor to the world that we find ourselves living in today – "Data Is The New Oil". And it is a mantra that new businesses find themselves operating according to because knowing what your data means is akin to unearthing the next big thing.

As companies grow towards improving their businesses on a large scale, and finding ways that they can approach their customers in new ways that not only raise profits but positively effect the lives of the people they rely on to exist, then is not one component as crucial as data.

Companies have been pooling their data for years, but many still don't know how to harness that power. Even though it is difficult to apply logic and reasoning to raw data, it can be refined in such a way that it can help to revolutionise your old, outdated approach that you were convinced would help you turn the corner. The truth is that you can't be banging on the same door, no matter how relentlessly, and that data will show you another way.

In a business sense, data is linked to improvement, as publications like Fortune have already pointed out. Forbes also highlights how we have begun "developing a capability to refine data into greater business insights, more profitable decision-making, and new product offerings."

In the Information Age, decisions need to be firmly backed by facts and information. A recent article in WIRED points to the "'good data beats opinion' philosophy. Almost everything can be tested, measured and improved. If you can measure it, you can improve it." Collecting data about consumers and products can lead to discovering correlations and new opportunities when the data is managed correctly. We find out things that offer new, inventive insights.

With DNAFit we also deal with a lot of data that, in turn, is very human information. The key to data is not simply having it, but understanding how to use it in order to make the world a better place. It strengthens the vision of an organisation and allows us to focus on what works. We now have the ability to understand how genetically diverse the world is, and also how similar we all are – aside from a few small differentiating factors.

All of us are connected via social media and are constantly sharing pieces of ourselves with the world, but would we do this if the world didn't speak back to us?

Data allows us to speak to people on broad-based and personal levels. Significant progress in this realm means that we speak to consumers and people about what is meaningful to them. If we know what people want, what trends are emerging, who is searching what, and how the demand in the rapidly changing ecosystem of the interconnected online world works, then data can be used strategically and wisely to telegraph movements and shifts before they happen.

The Gold Rush is over, and as we have moved more and more into the digital realm, the brand new commodity is data – because everything depends on it. All of us are connected via social media and are constantly sharing pieces of ourselves with the world, but would we do this if the world didn't speak back to us? What if this interconnected web of information didn't talk back and agree, or disagree, with our opinions, our likes, and our dislikes? It all starts with data because the data relies on humans to function, on people to try new things, or stick with what they always have.

Whatever the case may be, the time has arrived for us to realise that data may be the most important thing in our lives as we spend more time online and search for things that we identify according to our preferences. But what harnessing the power of data really means is that everything can be better, and more innovative – you just have to know what you're looking for.