Can Big Data Give Us Internal Insights?

What if we could turn the power of Big Data (e.g., analyzing petabytes of data to understand customer needs like EBay does) on our own organizations? For example, what if instead of a search engine we had a confusion engine -- something that would show areas of our organizations where processes and/or people are confused? 

Pundits offer that our mobile phones are giving us a new found ability to track our lives. The tools for tracking our behaviors, bodily functions, and wellness are getting better, cheaper, and more diverse
 
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What if we could do the same thing with the structured and unstructured data of our organizations? 

Don’t our organizations also deserve health and wellness given new found abilities to glean insights from our activities?
 
Greg Merkle, Big Data expert and vice president of product strategy and design at Dow Jones, (where he oversees user experience for Factiva -- “the leading provider of global business news and information with content from 35,000 sources, from 200 countries in 26 languages”) told me, “Everything is measurable. We store and stockpile all the information. It’s more about what do you want to do with the data.... Barriers are less the technology and more the culture.”
 
They are thinking about these issues internally as well as how they can help their customers:
 
“We have a fairly large development organization. We establish formal [key performance indicators] to think about our time to market. Then we ask, “are the systems connected to track the time spent working on an initiative, the time spent doing the development, and the time spent doing sales and deployment?” 
 
This kind of analysis gives them a chance to see how efficient they are and then what the customer says about it. Kind of a FitBit activity tracker for the development process.
 
This is great internal business analysis. Not quite using petabytes of data for insights, but using data to ask questions and make evidence-based decisions. Similar to how LifeHacker and Smarterware founder Gine Trapani uses RescueTime to discover how she spends her own time on-line and make decisions with that information
 
What happens if we take it a step further? What if we turn the incredible power of Big Data on our organizations’ structured and unstructured data?
 

Before I go on about why, what do you think we could learn?

Additional background on big data.

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