Why you shouldn’t look at data inside out

I’ve seen some things around that talk about looking at data from the inside out.  This is quite well meaning as its talking about all the disparate internal silos of information, but fundamentally it misses the point. We’ve talked at Capgemini for many years about the impact of ‘outside in’, our old CTO Andy Mulholland really underlined how its the difference between old (inside out) and new  (outside in) thinking that is driving the new approaches to IT. I blogged in January about how its the local view that counts.  The point here is that the only real way to change the way you use information and to deliver business value is to stop looking at it from the constraints of your internal estate today and think about new approaches, like the Business Data Lake, which allow you to create a unified substrate for your information and then look, from the outside, at how the business and external people want to consumer and interact.

To give an example.  If someone is putting containers on a ship, they need to know what container goes where.  That comes down to something as simple as ‘put container A onto container B right there’ but there is a massive amount of mathematics that goes into doing that in the most efficient way given the cargo and the various ports and manifests.

That is the outside view, it starts with the problem, it then builds into what analytics is required and then looks to see what information is required to deliver that.  Starting from the information and working upwards is already prejudging the outcome by assuming that is the only information available and that looking upwards gives the right view.  History has taught us to start with the business challenge, the ouside view, and then work on how we fix that.

IT has a history of forcing the business to sit within those internal silos and of forcing the inside out view.  With new approaches and new technologies we can break that vicious cycle and finally start looking from the outside in.

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