Dave MThere is a lot of talk in the IoT industry about turning raw data into actionable data and I agree that it is an important concept. Too often businesses are not extracting real business value from the data it creates, collects and stores. In theory, It seems like if you solve for actionable data then the rewards should be endless.

However, that really depends on your definition of the term. I have noticed people bending the meaning to fit their situation. For example, one could say that actionable data is achieved when you can expose previously unavailable data points in a report or dashboard. In that case, a human would be able to view the information, interpret its meaning and take action. I suppose that is actionable data, but certainly not the way I define it.

The previous example works for simple datasets in small volumes. The problem is that most companies are in the exact opposite situation. The volume of data is growing, especially in the machine-driven world of IoT. And, these data sets are becoming more complex. It is impossible to believe that a human – or team of humans – could process it all and take action in an effective way.

To me, actionable data is driven by automation. You want your data to drive actions without the delay or inaccuracy of human intervention. It is key to recognizing the full value of your data and something every IoT strategy must have. So for now, I am going to stop using the term actionable data and instead focus on how automation drives better business outcomes. After all, that really is the goal of IoT.