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Beautiful Data by Toby Segaran, Jeff Hammerbacher

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Chapter 7. Data Finds Data

Jeff Jonas

Lisa Sokol

Introduction

NEXT-GENERATION "SMART" INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS WILL NOT RELY ON USERS DREAMING UP smart questions to ask computers; rather, they will automatically determine if new observations reveal something of sufficient interest to warrant some reaction, e.g., sending an automatic notification to a user or a system about an opportunity or risk.

An organization can only be as smart as the sum of its perceptions. These perceptions come in the form of observations—observations collected across the various enterprise systems, such as customer enrollment systems, financial accounting systems, and payroll systems. With each new transaction an organization learns something. It is at the moment something is learned that there exists an opportunity, in fact an obligation, to make some sense of what this new piece of data means and respond appropriately. For example, does the address change on the customer record now reveal that this customer is connected to one of your top 50 customers? If an organization cannot evaluate how new data points relate to its historical data holding in real time, the organization will miss opportunities for action.

When the "data can find the data," there exists an opportunity for the insight to find the user.

How data finds data is a statement about discoverability, the degree to which previous information can be located and correlated with the new data. Discoverability requires the ability to recall related ...

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