Is your data worth managing?


Allen Johnson

Nucleus Research released a new study this week “Measuring The Half Life of Data” introducing a framework for gauging the data’s value and the effects of time on that value. They use the scientific concept of “half-life” to reinforce the notion that data value diminishes over time and at predictable rates. The rate of decline is based on whether data is used for tactical, operational, or strategic purposes.

The Half Life of Data

This is an interesting concept and one that clearly has application as companies plan data management investments. Value should be the key discriminator in how much to spend managing data. In other words, if its value is “x” times greater (you get to fill in the “x”) than the cost of managing it, you should make the investment.

It is important not to infer that this framework best benefits product manufacturers. Any company, in any industry, will find itself making decisions along operational, tactical and strategic horizons. The point here is that creating a data foundation that is both model-driven and agile is key for two reasons:

  • A model-driven approach provides structure for rapid data integration, a key to exploiting data with shorter half-life.
  • Agility enables rapid response as decision horizons and data requirements change.

There’s that word again…”agile”.   Here it makes perfect sense. If you want to fully leverage this half-life framework, you absolutely will need an agile data foundation at the base. Otherwise it will be difficult to capture data’s peak value, or mine its lingering value over time.

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2 Responses to “Is your data worth managing?”

  1. Nancy Beckman June 26, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    “If you want to fully leverage this half-life framework, you absolutely will need an agile data foundation at the base. ”

    Great point! If there really is a shelf live to your data than you need to get a much value from it as quickly as possible. Having a management process in place that doesn’t take advantage of the window of opportunity doesn’t do you any good.

  2. Mike Wheeler
    Mike Wheeler June 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    I agree with you Nancy. Although, it’s also important to realize that high-quality data can be leveraged for additional value for long periods of time in guiding strategic decision making. Data that flows through operational processes must be high-quality, accurate and fit for purpose so that tactical and operational decisions can be made in the cadence of business knowledge workers. One hesitation, one indecisive moment can be an advantage for your competitors. Good Data + Good Processes = High Performance Business.

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