Chomping on Puzzles

Digital Marketing Lead, Public Services Sector, IBM Analytics

My daughter loves puzzles. Since she was two I’ve thrown bigger and bigger puzzles at her, but rather than balking she dives in chomping furiously on her tongue. The more intense the puzzle the harder she chews; never once looking at the box. A feat I am yet to master. Today I saw puzzles from an entirely different angle as in his video featured below IBM fellow, Jeff Jonas, weaved an intriguing and fascinating story of the jigsaw puzzle and how it relates to organizational data, understanding big data, and enterprise intelligence. A complex business problem was explained with a yellow puzzle piece.

As the channels and customer interaction points in today’s market multiply, so too the data we create. While the data pile increases an organization’s ability to analyze and understand the data has remained flat. Jonas indicates that today “we can make sense of 7% of our organizations observation space but tomorrow we’ll only make sense of 4%, and then next just 1%.” Businesses are faced with the daunting challenge of connecting and filling in the pieces that connect their silos—“the red puzzle piece to the green puzzle piece.” Jonas dubs this enterprise amnesia.

Watching the video I was transported to Jonas’s table with the quagmire of puzzle pieces. He masterfully pulls you into the story of the multiple puzzles—some have duplicate pieces, some are missing critical pieces, some pieces just don’t belong. The more puzzles you add the more convoluted the task of interlocking—big data. Soon you’re no longer thinking about the puzzles but envisioning massive data silos, the frustration of knowledge workers, and the ever elusive relevance. I grasped clearly how long it takes for organizations without the right systems to grind out insight, and detect trends and patterns from all their data sources. Without a big data platform connecting the puzzle pieces that make up organizational data, companies miss the context needed for cutting edge innovation, an enhanced customer experience, and an agile enterprise. Jonas sums it up eloquently when he insists that “the most competitive organizations are going to make sense of what they’re observing fast enough to do something about it while they are observing it” – the key here is to act.

 Take a look at the video; replay it too like I did and tell me how you’re connecting the pieces of your organizational data puzzle to create the picture on the box you’ve never seen.