Is data a business asset for your company or simply a by-product of conducting business?
Paul Stewart, Australian Red Cross Blood Service business intelligence and enterprise data manager, says that one of the key things of any organisation is that its data is its biggest asset. (And with a title like that, who can be surprised?)
"What you can derive about your customers that you didn't know earlier is amazing," says Stewart.
"One of the key things your business needs to recognise is the quality of its data is what's going to drive the quality of its decision making and the quality of its ability to sell its products and services."
Treating data well is an idea that needs to go across entire companies. "Data as an asset needs to be accepted beyond IT, it's not an IT thing at all. Just like how business processes shouldn't be owned by IT," he says.
Companies have the potential to be sitting on top of an information goldmine and not realise it. Stewart says that there are two problems, not realising the value in the data and not knowing what to do with it once you identify it.
"There's not many people that understand the way you can mine data, drawing data together to come up with different data.
"I challenge you to identify any organisation that treats data as an asset these days," Stewart says.
Are you able to meet Paul Stewart's challenge?
Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining the company as a programmer.Leaving CBS Interactive in 2010 to follow his deep desire to study the snowdrifts and culinary delights of Canada, Chris based himself in Vancouver and paid for his new snowboarding and poutine cravings as a programmer for a lifestyle gaming startup.Chris returns to CBS in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia determined to meld together his programming and journalistic tendencies once and for all.In his free time, Chris is often seen yelling at different operating systems for their own unique failures, avoiding the dreaded tech support calls from relatives, and conducting extensive studies of internets — he claims he once read an entire one.