Information-Driven Business

How humans want to find their answers
by Robert Hillard

Having taken the time to get a handle on your enterprise information by roughly dividing it into the four layers I described in my last post, I’d like to give you an idea for a “quick win”.

Humans don’t differentiate between the things that are structured (such as the content of the corporate data warehouse) and those that are unstructured (such as PDF train timetables).  While technologists think it is astoundingly obvious that the former is instantly analysable and the latter is only to be read, the same assumption is not obvious to most end-users of the data.

Consider for a moment the new class of analytical search engines such as WolframAlpha and compare to a more traditional tool such as Google.  Try the query “American Airlines on-time performance” in both and compare the results.  WolframAlpha will actually try to give you the answer whereas Google will tell you where to go and find the answer.

If you invest in understanding your content, you can do the same for your organisation, providing tools to your users which will give them the answers to their questions rather than simply telling them “the answer is out there”.

I describe this approach in detail in chapter 8 of my book, Information-Driven Business.  You can also read more online in the MIKE2.0 enterprise search offering overview.

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