There’s no disputing it – between our computers, netbooks, ipads and smart phones we generate an insurmountable amount of data every day. The items we purchase, the websites we view, the web searches we make and the blogs and articles that we write and view every day generate the bulk of this data. Most of this information is used to improve search results or to help companies and marketing firms develop better ways to market their goods and services to us.
Some organizations are looking at how to use these large quantities of data to make better decisions or alert the public. WellPoint and IBM announced an agreement to put Watson to work in Health Care. Watson is IBM’s computing system that rivals a human’s ability to answer question. For this initiative, Watson will pour through millions of healthcare related data to help physicians identify the most likely diagnosis and treatment options in complex cases. In addition, this past weekend the Wall Street Journal contained an article entitled Decoding our Chatter which focused on analyzing data from Twitter and other social media sites. Twitter texts are as timely as a pulse beat and, taken together, automatically compile the raw material of social history. The Twitter analysis indicated that the Tweets about the Virginia earthquake reached New York before the tremors. This information is a treasure chest of information for researchers interested in compiling the raw material of social history.
How can we make better use of these large quantities of data within our organizations to make better decisions? What if we had these social networking tools within our work environment and added the data from these tools to our corporate knowledge base? This would allow the various social networking exchanges to be captured and searched – after all, if is often the case that the most valuable knowledge is distributed in various bits and pieces across the workforce. Adding these workplace social networking communications to the corporate data set would provide a greater chance for the information to be available to the company at large.
The better organizations get at mining their knowledge bases to extract relevant information, the more competitive they will be. One of the keys is to start thinking of your collaborative interactions as part of your knowledge base.