Up in the cloud or down in the basement – where are my data?

The article explains why “cloud” and “big data” remain empty phrases as long as we’re unable to evaluate the majority of existing data. The author outlines possible solutions while cautioning readers that information processing that would really meet the needs of businesses is still a long way off.

People are talking about the cloud and “big data,” businesses invest heavily in moving real-world processes into the virtual world. But what’s the real picture? So far, 70 to 80 percent of all relevant information has not even been digitalized. In fact, it hasn’t been preprocessed for digitalization. This information fills pages upon pages, boxes upon boxes, filing cabinets upon filing cabinets and entire storage rooms. Seems unlikely in our modern, digital day and age? It’s true, though – and that’s just the beginning. Even after all these documents have been scanned (in some unforeseeable future), they still can’t be used directly as digitalized information. That is a crucial problem for many businesses who, after all, really need these data.

Are there ways to solve this problem? Document management systems offer a solution. They require a certain amount of time and effort, but they reward this investment: some fine day, all those paper documents will be turned into usable information, and all those forms will yield context to use it. Video and audio recordings are trickier. In many cases, their content can’t be indexed, catalogued, and evaluated. What we can do with data today is still a far cry from automated, context-sensitive, universal information processing and evaluation on a par with human information processing capabilities.

This is a management summary of an article first published in the magazine of Digital Tempus Germany. You can read the full article here in German, or contact me if you wish to have more information about the topic.