Stop Talking About The Importance Of Data And Start Using It

We constantly hear about the importance of data to effectively running businesses, and there’s no shortage of sources we can draw on. But actually doing that? It’s still much rarer than it should be.

MIT research scientist Andrew McAfee made that point during his guest keynote at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo this week:

The way we run companies is not nearly geeky enough, it’s not nearly data-driven enough, and it’s too inwardly focused.

One big reason for that problem which McAfee suggested: most businesses think they are actually far more unique than they are. He highlighted two statements which he says he never hears from businesses: “Our industry is just like everybody else’s industry” and “Our company is just like everybody else’s company within our industry”. That often misplaced belief that the work you do is “different” can also make you reluctant to embrace data about what you do.

The key lesson? Data isn’t everything, but it doesn’t make sense to ignore it.

Throughout this week, Lifehacker is covering Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2014 live from the Gold Coast, bringing you practical tips and advice for running business IT more effectively.
Check out all our stories from the event.

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