The world is a library

PB-logoHere is my Novemeber Management Matters column in Prairie Business Magazine

I collect inspiring Native American proverbs. I am often amazed how these maxims have passed the test of time and remain sage advice for today’s leaders. One of my favorites, which probably originated from the Lakota people of our region, states: Knowledge is rooted in all things — the world is a library. This adage is almost certainly truer today than even the wise author could have ever imagined.

As business leaders are seeking new and innovative ways to stay competitive, many are turning to big data, or perhaps more correctly, they are harnessing the power of data analytics. Although this is not a new phenomenon, big data (and the associated tools and techniques) is certainly capturing the attention of leaders around the planet. Cover stories in Harvard Business Review, Time magazine, Foreign Affairs magazine and many more are fueling the search for powerful, yet unknown, data anomalies. Once discovered these mysterious data nuggets often become the basis of a great decision, the spark for innovation, or the catalyst for change.

Some argue big data is exclusively for Fortune 500 companies with petabytes of data and access to unlimited computing power. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Organizations — profit and not-for-profit, large and small, public and private — have data that could lead to the next big thing. All leaders should consider the merits of big data. Remember, knowledge is rooted in all things — the world is a library. Isn’t it time you start browsing?