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Blog: The perils of data perishability (and how to identify where that’s a problem)

The phrase “data is the new oil” has been around for years… and with that, an assumption that you want all the data. The market talks a lot about how to get all that data… from everywhere. Yet, as organizations and agencies seek to collect more and more data to use more and more data… we must stop and ask: just like a carton of milk or eggs, does data have an expiration date?

Why? Using outdated data can influence the accuracy of decision-making, produce hallucinations in AI and analytics outputs, and delay processes—potentially placing organizations at a competitive disadvantage.

Data is, in fact, time-bound. Often, the utilization of data—how and when it’s used—drives the data’s expiration date. For instance, if a surgeon is making a care decision, the best patient outcomes will likely come from him or her basing those decisions on the latest patient scans. Or a financial services provider running portfolio analytics will want to make investments based on the latest market insights—not what was happening a few days ago. This becomes even more important with workflows requiring real-time performance, such as confirming a naval unit to take preventative action based on near real-time spatial analysis.

However, the time fence in which a user or organization needs to act can create a conundrum—especially when the dataset is large or is far away. Because the value of that data decays with time. Getting data from point A to point B often takes too much time—due to unpredictable networks, latency, bandwidth constraints, and more. There it is… it’s all about time.

So, what’s a modern organization or agency to do? If time to insight, decision, and action matter to you—accelerated access solutions offer great tools like data transfer, which moves data ultra-fast to and from anywhere, and remote data access, which allows data to be used and accessed without moving it first. Modern data access plays into the concept of “more time”—and avoids data perishability—in two key ways: first, it accelerates data access, which means the user or application is minimizing downtime on the front end, and second, it enables use of data before its value decays—eliciting better outcomes (and thereby better use and value of your time and resources).

Thinking, “This sounds awesome … but where do I apply it?” We like to filter your various workflows and use cases through the qualifier of “time”—and how time to access data impacts business and mission outcomes. For instance, where is old data causing poor decision-making (and potentially limiting financial gains)? Where is the time to access data causing productivity losses? Where is obsolete data putting your teams into an avoidable, reactive position?

At the end of the day, our most critical resource is time. In an era of everything “now” and “real-time,” … how do we give ourselves more time? Modern technology offers a great “two for one” deal—not only delivering data access faster, but by using that data when it itself is most valuable, we’re generating greater value for our time spent. Perhaps not such a tough egg to crack after all.

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