DailyPost 1686

If you fail data, data will fail you. Data is new oil being called out from every rooftop, but vast parts of the world want to remain in denial. Having not seen and experienced the data driven revolution, they feel there is nothing better than the way they are conducting their business and for sure governance too. The gap between a data driven governance and the one without it, is more than the difference between the modern world and the stone ages. Post computerization is the world of data, it is the world of automation and there is no running away from it. The difference is between the doctor diagnosing a complicated disease with or without a MRI.

Data is not an add-on, it is a different world, enabled by algorithms, analytics, patterns, co-relations and predictions. It’s not simple statistics or statistical model, its way beyond that. It is what Googles and Facebooks are made of, data generating trillions of dollars of business and a place in the sun. Making a mark in human history and revolutionizing the world for all times to come. Making data magical is their single contribution to mankind. The challenge first is to have a Big Data Mindset and second and more difficult is to have data of integrity and honesty. Such data as has been the experience can be created  if systems are dynamic and real time. If the data of these companies did not have integrity, they would have been able to deliver anything to the world.

Today our fight against COVID-19 is also battle against data and systems and processes which we run. Apps, war rooms and innumerable helplines work in silos, in whichever manner they feel like and with whatever agenda they intend to. In this  humanitarian crisis, it is a  free for all. Do our decision makers have a dashboard of every parameter required and the situational awareness emanating out of it? Or everything has to be decided on the make believe data of  infection numbers and deaths. The aggregation of death data is already under clout. We don’t even know the data points, nor do we have data validation and cross verification mechanisms. Even the generalists are able to find gaping holes in our death data globally.

Can such data systems exist in today’s world, is anathema? There is a world beyond excel sheets and at the very best GPS enabled maps. If all data points of every patient in an ICU and on ventilator in few of our big hospital chains are put on machine learning / AI tools, it would give you patterns and causality which might just amaze us. But that is a tall order as it stands now. Can we have the infection data straight, with all the errors and disclaimers mapped, to provide some sanity as to where we are?  Suspect data has proven to be suicidal everywhere, it cannot be any different here. If we bring integrity to mainstream data (all critical streams required), normalize it at least for the known discrepancies and then work on it with Data Analytics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence tools, this would turn out to be the biggest tool of this battle. Rest all planning and operations can happen on it.


Sanjay Sahay

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