Front line accounts of the data revolution

I recently interviewed someone who thoroughly challenged my thinking.

It's all about how quickly and accurately you can analyse data

His name was Dr Manuel Aparicio and he’s the brains behind Saffron memory base technology – a data management system that “thinks” like a human brain. One person has dubbed it Google for the Database, we’re talking about technology that identifies connections between disparate data sets of people, places, and things, only much processing huge amounts of data much faster than a human being ever could.

In a wide-ranging interview I was fascinated to understand more about how analytics will transform our ability to put information to work. Saffron is already delivered for US national security, where analysts use it to process huge amounts of data, and there are many example of successful commercial deployment. In summary, the implications for organisations and entire professions – including law – of this ability to “read” and process huge amounts of information are significant.

While Manuel says the human brain will never be supplanted, he says it’s clear technology’s capacity for intellectual grunt work will demand a rethink where people focus their energy in the future.

My interview with Manuel was just one of a number I did at the very end of 2010 that explored the theme of business transformation via technology and data. These included a conversation with Saffron executive chairman Gayle Sheppard, as well as Keith Holdt and Markus Becker of Swiss Post Document Solutions. Many of these shows are now live on yBC.

All have been fascinating and different in the detail, but at a high level it’s confirmed to me a clear message: we have more data being generated than ever. Many are struggling to manage it, but the organisations that succeed in the coming decades will be those that best put data to work.