Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fast data - speed over precision?

@bmichelson posts a piece on an HP website called Fast Data: Speed over precision for better decision-making (21 June 2011), summarizing a recent interview in MIT Sloan with Ali Riaz and Sid Probstein of software company Attivio.

Riaz and Probstein are not claiming that better decision-making is just about speed: it also requires a continuous refinement loop, including rethinking one's premises. In other words, we need multiple feedback loops at different speeds, to handle different levels of complexity. As I pointed out in my piece on TIBCO's slogan Two Second Advantage, although simple decisions can be taken quickly, complex decisions need what I call "time for understanding".

One of the architectural challenges of organizational intelligence is to coordinate a complex array of sense-making and decision-making processes operating at different characteristic tempi, and to maintain a proper balance between the very fast (reactive) and the comparatively slow (reflective). Probstein identifies as a successful exemplar.

It is common for technologists to make a fetish of speed, but business effectiveness and organizational improvement need "time for understanding" as well. Riaz and Probstein appear to understand this, and I look forward to seeing how this understanding is supported by their software.

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