The uselessness of small data

For the last couple years, “big data” has been one of those next best thing buzz words of business. Its basic premise is now that we have oodles of data, lets figure out how to use to make the organization more effective.

Data can also be viewed though in a six sigma/lean format. The waste in data is a hindrance and a cost to effective management. So for fun, in this blog post we called that near useless data “small data”.  I am not writing about inaccurate data here although that is another waste of resources but rather about accurate or inaccurate data no longer needed.

For example, there was a large company on which had no way to eliminate its obsolete sku’s for its product file. Yes, it was physical possible but so many hoops and details needed to be done to eliminate the sku,  nobody bothered. There were the prime company objectives to be done that left little time to police the data.  There were products sitting in warehouses which were market obsolete, or had so few sales that it was not worthwhile to the organization. Time was spent looking at the data, inventory took up space, and resources for the firm was used for useless purposes.  Ultimately this problem was addressed by changing the entire accounting system in the organization.

All of us as individuals face this dilemma in determining who we thin out our email files.  Lots of data, much of it useless. Do we do it before the IT department forces out to weed out in a hurried basis?

The reality is that organizations and individuals are time stressed.  I advocate that organizations and its managers should set priorities for down or less stressful periods at least once on annual basis. Among those priorities should be review of its data to find the small data which takes up time and money. Removing the clutter, allows the organization and yourself to do more efficiently.





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