If you are a supply chain professional, here’s a challenge for you: I dare you to deliver a world-class, industry-leading, digital supply chain.
This is not meant to question your ability, but to get you thinking differently about one thing: digital data.
The volume of data will continue to grow
The world’s total digital data volume has been doubling every two years. There are 1.7 megabytes of new information created every minute for every person on Earth. In 2013, world data volume was estimated to be 4.4 zettabytes. I did not make up that word; a zettabyte is one trillion gigabytes. The volume of digital data is projected to increase ten times – to 44 zettabytes – by 2020.
You know what? I think these projections are too low.
Every minute, internet users share more than 2.5 million pieces of content on Facebook, tweet more than 300,000 times and send more than 204 million text messages.
Robots, sensors and automated processes produce plenty of data, too, and that’s not included in these texts and tweets. We should be particularly aware of the explosive growth projected for the Internet of Things (IoT) sector over the next half decade – it’s estimated there will be 28 billion IoT devices in the world by 2021.
Better data infrastructure isn’t just needed, it’s essential
These new IoT devices will not just produce floods of new data – they will also need robust data infrastructures if they are to function anything like we would like them to.
The era of big data is here now, it’s growing fast and frankly it scares me. We’re getting to the point where we need quantum computing just to sort through this stuff. If that doesn’t scare you too, it should, because big data is capable of driving us to extinction.
That’s a big statement, but here’s why I’m making it.
A recent survey of 1,500 companies found that on average, respondents could identify only 14 percent of their data as business critical. Fourteen percent!
Another 32 percent of that data was redundant or obsolete.
And 54 percent of their data was identified as “dark data.” Dark data is as sinister as it sounds: we are storing zettabytes of data, and we don’t even know what it is.