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You Shouldn't Have to Frack for Data...

You Shouldn't Have to Frack for Data...

Posté par Mike Burn le

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When most people think of oil, they think of it as one homogeneous substance; black goopy stuff that comes out of ground. But it isn’t – crude oil, like data, varies tremendously in quality; crude oil can come as sweet crude (if it has <0.5% sulfur) or sour (if it has >0.5% sulfur). Sour crude has to be processed and the impurities removed before it can be refined into gasoline, this additional processing makes the end products cost more to make, as such, sour crude is less desirable.

My take is that data should be viewed through a similar lens – good clean data could be called sweet data, and data that contains inaccuracies and impurities requiring scrubbing to make it useful is sour data.

Given my classification, I’m pretty confident in saying that the data used for Live apps is sweet data. The primary data for Live apps comes from a common and pure source – the Guidewire InsuranceSuite. We sometimes blend that data with external sources – but we curate those, making sure they’re sweet too. On the other hand if data comes from legacy systems with fields with overloaded meanings, or from multiple sources where definitions are not uniform and where you have to do a high degree of mapping, merging and dilution to use it – I’d call that sour data.

Beyond quality I think there is another comparison that can be made between oil and data. Although oil is actually phenomenally abundant, the challenge is accessibility – geography and geology have a lot to do with that. Whether oil is reservoired just under the surface in your back yard or deep underground in the middle of an ocean makes a huge difference to the desirability to go get it. Once you’ve found your oil you have to be concerned with the geology – how easy is it to get out of the ground? Does the substrate and pressure allow for the oil and gas to easily flow to the surface, or is it locked in a hard rock requiring expensive fracking or lateral drilling to release it for use? Then you find yourself asking how much is there, is it worth going after with consideration of those geographic and geological factors?

I think there are similar considerations that must be taken into account when you look to use data. With Live, we not only have a vast reserve of your data from your core system, but also data from the community from which to draw knowledge. The data is easily accessible - over the web by using apps or directly inside your core system using Live Inside.

So when you’re considering using data to make your decisions, maybe you should start thinking a bit like an oilman and make a balance across the following:

  • What’s the quality?

  • Where is it?

  • Is it economically accessible?

  • How much is there?

  • Oh – and what’s it worth to me!

Hopefully you found that insightful – and if nothing else know a little bit more about oil!


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