Buzzword Bingo: Past, present and future

As we settle into 2019, we draw some valuable data lessons from three buzzwords: past, present and future...

Buzzword past: Big data

Regular readers will know that ‘big data’ is a real bug bear for us: a vague term that doesn’t really mean anything on its own. The way we collect, store and use data has shifted enormously in the last few years: when we talk about the concept of data now, we can all safely assume that we’re referring to something much bigger than an excel spreadsheet with a few product codes and prices.

But we have to admit, the term ‘big data’ has been instrumental to that change. It’s enabled us to accept data as information, collected across different technologies in a vast range of formats – from words and numbers to images and sounds. It’s allowed us to see ‘data’ for what it is: something that can be used and harnessed to grow our businesses and improve our insights.   

However, for us to really learn from our data, we have to narrow the net, selecting and qualifying the data we collate – and this is where ‘big data’ as a buzzword has become a stumbling block for many businesses. The rush to incorporate big data into big business has left corporations with heaps of data that isn’t actually relevant or useful to them, making it more difficult to manage. When it comes to migrating this data into practical applications, it becomes a mammoth task – especially when it comes to MDM and PIM solutions.

While the concept of big data will live on, it’s time to leave this buzzword behind in 2018.

Buzzword present: AI

The AI reality is here to stay and we’re in the midst of its evolution.

Most of the articles on AI are scare-mongering, most especially when it comes to whether or not AI will take our jobs. We’re here to tell you, it’s not the case. Soft skills remain vital for employers and whilst we’ve come leaps and bounds with AI and machine learning, it’s got a way to go before it has the ability to empathise and think like we do. Think less Replicants and more C-3PO, it’s smart but lacking interpersonal skills.

It’s hype in recent years has led to rapid adoption but there’s still work to be done when it comes to harnessing its power as a data tool. AI is an adaptive solution, but it relies on clean, quality data in order to work to your business’ advantage. Understanding how to incorporate intelligence with processes will be a learning curve this year but at the heart of it should be a data governance strategy that enables you understand your data in order to realise its true value – and potential. 

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Buzzword future: Quantum computing

Quantum computing is complicated. Unfortunately it has little to do with the body-hopping antics of Dr Sam Beckett other than a loose scientific premise: the ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at a time. Where current computing is based on a single piece of information that can exist in two states – classic binary 1 or 0 ‘bits’ – quantum doesn’t have the same limitations.

To cut a long story (as in, decades of deeply scientific quantum studies) short, a quantum ‘qubit’ can store a massive amount of information while using less energy than a classic computer. At least, it can in theory: quantum mechanics are still in development, so don’t get too excited about what they can do for your data storage just yet.

Unsurprisingly, IBM and Google are part of the race to develop Quantum, but how far away is practical quantum computing? Well, much like ‘true’ AI, Quantum will reach an abrupt tipping point whereby theory will become reality. Some theorise it could be as close as three years away (less impressive when you think that we were supposed to be living on the moon by 1999) while others feel that quantum applications aren’t going to go ‘mainstream’ until the 2030s.

Quantum may be on the watch-list of some of the world’s biggest corporations, but it’s probably a tad too soon to add it to your data innovation agenda just yet: for now, this buzzword can stay firmly in the future.

At Comma, we help you implement your Master Data Management solutions effectively across all areas of your business. To find out more about how Comma Group can help you, visit our website, or contact us at info@comma-group.com

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