The Value of Data for the Future

May 13th, 2011

The Times has an interesting piece about the value of data mining and exploiting this raw data:

The current data surge is coming from sophisticated computer tracking of shipments, sales, suppliers and customers, as well as e-mail, Web traffic and social network comments. The quantity of business data doubles every 1.2 years, by one estimate.

Mining and analyzing these big new data sets can open the door to a new wave of innovation, accelerating productivity and economic growth. Some economists, academics and business executives see an opportunity to move beyond the payoff of the first stage of the Internet, which combined computing and low-cost communications to automate all kinds of commercial transactions.

The next stage, they say, will exploit Internet-scale data sets to discover new businesses and predict consumer behavior and market shifts.

This trend will have great implications for the future of the legal profession. Applying data and information technology to improve the process by which lawyers operate.

McKinsey has a new report, titled Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity. One interesting portion:

However, companies and policy makers must tackle significant hurdles to fully capture big data’s potential. The United States alone faces a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with analytical expertise and 1.5 million managers and analysts with the skills to understand and make decisions based on the analysis of big data. And there are difficult issues around privacy and security, as well as hurdles associated with technological limitations such as the difficulties of pooling data from legacy IT systems with incompatible formats.

This, is where jobs of the future will lie. Collecting and understanding data. These are the skills that attorneys need to develop.

“Every manager will really have to understand something about statistics and experimental design going forward,” said Michael Chui, a senior fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute.

“But it’s clear that data is an important factor of production now,” said James Manyika, a director of the McKinsey Global Institute.