Forrester's Michele Goetz is a great phrase maker. She's coined the term zombie data to refer to the fact that many (most?) organizations are still grappling with basic data management issues – and this is blocking their efforts to get more value out of data through analytics. I'd add that zombie data is also impeding organizations' ability to collaborate with each other and become more agile.
One of the questions Goetz identifies as a sign of zombie data is “How do I get the business to invest in data?” This is a great question, because it's a symptom rather than a problem. It needs to be taken as an invitation to discuss the organization's stated goals and actual behaviors with regard to data exploitation.
Unfortunately, the loose use of the term “big data” has led some people to think there's a discontinuity between the mainline concerns of data management and the bright world of a big data-powered tomorrow. In Goetz's words, “what is bright, shiny, and new is always more interesting than the ordinary”.
There's two ways we could spin data management. We could spin “ordinary” data up, and say it's not ordinary at all – try to give it some glamour. Or we could spin big data down – put it in its place.
I'm reluctant to do either. Sure, data needs to be managed, or else the organization won't obtain its value. But we need a shift in thinking, so that data is no longer seen as a technical issue. It's technical issues which suffer from “old/new” prejudices. Business issues don't suffer the same fashion anxieties. No one tells you you're being old-fashioned if you think customer service is important. And they don't think you're from the future if you try new ways of improving customer service. Let's domesticate data. Let's make it “ordinary” in a good way. Forrester