Do you have Insurgent Data?

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who put things into two categories and those who don’t. Maybe this isn’t the best representation of the complexities of the human race, but it does give me a cheap lead-in to compare two types of problem solutions: “high tech,” focused on tools, and “high touch,” focused on interpersonal communications.

I was reminded of these two approaches by a recent interesting article in Wired that expresses an opinion about why America’s performance in Iraq has been disappointing. The basic premise of this article is that America has entered into this engagement in a “technology networked" fashion, drowning it in technology; the more, the better.

The article suggests that the US forces would make more progress if they were to spend more time on a “socially networked" approach. For instance, instead of remote controlling a drone from 100 miles away, spend more time drinking chai with local leaders. Not the absence of technology, but the incorporation of technology into a socially based environment.

“If I know where the enemy is, I can kill it. My problem is I can’t connect with the local population.” This was a quote from one division commander. Change a couple of words and you end up with a statement that many of us would find all too familiar:

“If I know where the inefficiency is, I can fix it. My problem is I can’t connect with my data.”

Aren’t we witnessing this in spades right now in the BI space? There’s no lack of number of tools and number of features in these tools. The challenge is figuring out who the real insurgents are and how you deal with them. If you’ve been reading the Juice blog for very long, you have a pretty good feeling for how we approach what we believe is a social problem (high touch) and not a technical one (high tech).

The good news is that the US forces are changing their approach to socialize more with the Iraqi people—hopefully leading to a better Iraq. Is there good news for the BI space? We’d like to hear from you on how you’re making sure you focus enough on the social “high touch" aspects of our space. What’s your insurgent data? How can you get to know it better?