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Meaningful Data Whitepaper

Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013 (revised date: Friday, 19 Jul 2013)
Sayara Beg

Bright North have just released their latest BI Analytics whitepaper which can be downloaded at

They are looking for feedback on the whitepaper.

What are your thoughts?


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Nigel Phillips
Wed, Jun 26 2013 16:21 GMT

Going to be a bit negative here. This paper is woefully short of meaningful data or compeling arguments derived from the sources sited. The executive summary argues that that fact that:

The output from dataware houses is oftwen ignored

+ people feel overwhelmed by information

+ pack of communication about how to use data

= bad data

In the section on bad data the cause is given as systems failure, human error and bad business proecesses.

It then aregues that big data is being propoted as a solution to the above problems. But what decision makers really need is meaningful data - information = data + meaning is not a particularly new concept.

The quote from Mark Smith is equally rambling stupid KPIs are not the fault of BI software although poor dashboards may be. He seems to be arguing for software that tells the user what the data means - but if that level of analysis is posssible the decisions can be automated and the human user becomes redundant. 

Basically meaningful data = information = reduced uncertainty = more easily quantifable risk. If the risk is reduced to zero so that drawing a successful conclusion is guaranteed the process can be automated.

The key issues with making evidence based decisions is psychological as Kahneman and Tversky

point out people make choices based on their value frames not the objective evidence - however meaningful the data people will ignore it if it doesn't agree with their value frame.