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Have We Become Addicted to Data?

March 2, 2016

Data production will be 44 times greater in 2020 than in 2009. Data generation is occurring more quickly than ever before. This is not just some new “technology” we stumbled upon. Humans are responsible for the rapid growth in data. We see this rapid growth as our dependence on data grows and grows. We have become addicted to data.

Lets go back to 2010, when the paperless office was still a bit of a dream for most, when our doctors still used a pen and paper, and when few enterprises embraced the internet as a way to accomplish legitimate work. Also in 2010, the enterprise datacenter was also experiencing explosive growth (as it continues to do so today). More and more companies, small businesses include began to implement automated and streamlined processes (from email to CRM, to billing and beyond). Larger businesses that had been using this technology for years began trying to perfect and improve these processes. Thus far…this doesn’t sound all that different from today.

But today, the paperless office has truly arrived and is even becoming the norm. Don’t believe me? When is the last time you saw someone with a ten-foot-tall filing cabinet in his or her office? Does your doctor not immediately pull up your electronic medical record when you’re in his or her office? Do you know a coworker that still has a rolodex? I’d also like to add that the computer just underlined “rolodex” with a red squiggly line, indicating it is misspelled (or perhaps a word that is slowly fading from the dictionary?) Furthermore, it is my guess that at least 50% of people born after 1995 do not even know what a rolodex is.

filing cabinets have become outdated in the age of the digital revolution

You may be wondering, “But isn’t this a good thing?” It is. However, there are some problems with our over-dependence on digital data. For example, 10 years ago if there was a datacenter failure, employees would scramble, digging files out of filing cabinets to continue servicing their customers. It was costly and time consuming, but at least it was possible. Today, more than likely the result of a datacenter failure is telling everyone to go home until it’s fixed. Business stops without data.

Companies are investing great amounts of resources, time and money into developing a big data strategy and data analysis. Far too few enterprises have invested in protecting themselves from the over dependence on data.

Instead, our dependence has fueled its own growth of data.

But what are we to do? We can’t just ditch our emails and our massive databases and go live in a cabin. Times have changed, and you can’t really go back in time. My suggestion is to develop a better data management plan. Hire experts to help you do this, so they can account for the maintenance necessary to keep you safe from losing all your data.

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