What is data?

The answer you get depends on the person you ask.

For example, what is a human? Ask a biologist and the answer would be that humans are mammals. Ask a philosopher and the answer might be that humans are defined as the only being that is able to ask what a human is. Ask a surgeon and humans become flesh and bones in occasional need of repair.

Now, what is data? A computer scientist might say that data is 1’s and 0’s, usually grouped into 8-bit chunks. An analyst would say that data is the input needed for the analysis. Ask a salesperson and the answer could be something like: ”I need data so I can prioritise the best leads”.

Everyone would be correct, but the value of the answer depends on the situation and the purpose of the question. As for data: In a business, with the purpose of making money, the most valuable answer comes from the salesperson. This is what data needs to mean and become. To get there you can process the bits and bytes and use whatever pieces of information and statistical models needed, but that’s all just means to an end. If you don’t understand what data means to the people working closest to the customers, then your 1’s and 0’s will stay just 1’s and 0’s. And that’s like limiting humans to a chunk of atoms.

What is data? The answer you get depends on the person you ask.

What is data? The answer you get depends on the person you ask.

Andreas Franson,  andreas[@]internetintelligence.se, +46 733 56 41 51

Andreas Franson

 

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