Nietzsche argued that knowledge is contingent on context and individual perspective. In a similar vein we believe that data end-users require the single, best version of the truth that is tailored to their organisational context and KPIs, and available to them in real-time via an application and/or interface suited to their individual needs.
It seems that we are living in a post-truth world, with ‘alternative facts’, ‘fake news’, and even ‘fake but accurate news’ featuring daily across all media channels.
In view of this, perhaps it is appropriate to revisit our definitions of ‘truth’ for people basing business decision-making on data, and to look to philosophical notions of truth such as Neitzshe’s ‘Perspectivism’ which argues that there may be many possible perspectives in which judgment of truth or value can be made.*
One of the key selling points of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software has been the principle of a ‘single source of truth’, that is, data is entered once, and is then available throughout the enterprise. How should we correlate our ideas of ERP data ‘truth’ with a more mature, and broader, philosophical perspective on the nature of truth that includes multiple world-views and perspectives?
Surprisingly the answer to this dilemma seems to be emerging from the world of mass marketing.
A recent white paper from The Economist Intelligence Unit titled, The path to 2020: Marketers seize the customer experience, explores how savvy marketing practitioners are pioneering a new model of customer engagement that blends a deep understanding of a customer’s contextual situation with timely, tailored delivery of relevant content and marketing assets.
In essence this approach is one which provides a heightened ZMOT** (zero moment of truth) experience for consumers in that it targets the customer relationship/purchase journey from a perspective of brand strengthening and pre-selling rather than at a later point in the marketing funnel, perhaps even seeking to by-pass the conventional funnel model by moving directly to the middle section of the traditional funnel model of intent/evaluation.
According to the white paper, in marketing:
“A single, best version of customer truth is derived from inputs such as demographics, psychographics, clickstream or purchase behaviour, customers’ devices or locations, the content they’re viewing, along with myriad other data points. These data streams are harmonised to portray a composite picture of the customer that provides the word ‘single’ to the definition. However, for an image of a customer to become the ‘best’ version of truth, analytic capabilities constantly evaluate the data against the following criteria:
Uniqueness: Are the data specific to the user or common to a target segment?
Privacy: Do the data require a customer’s permission and/or consent?
Applicability: Do the data apply across marketing and business processes?
Value: Do the data help a marketer meet key performance or business goals?”
When translated to the larger world of enterprise data, and using data driven decision making for operational and tactical purposes, for instance to optimise production and meet KPI’s, Pulse Mining believes that a single, best version of end user truth is derived from inputs such as the user’s job description, KPI’s, budgetary forecasts, relevant machine sensor outputs, team profile and locations, the context of the report that they’re viewing, and other relevant data points. These data streams are focused into a composite, personalised view for the individual (‘single’) end user, with the underpinning relevance, applicability and value of the data determined within an overall organisational context, thus providing the ‘best’ version of the truth… this is Tactical Analytics.
* Perspectivism is often taken to imply that no way of seeing the world can be taken as definitively ‘true’, but does not necessarily entail that all perspectives are equally valid.
** The zero moment of truth (ZMOT) refers to the point in the buying cycle when the consumer researches a product, often before the seller even knows that they exist. The number of consumers researching a product online prior to purchase has been on the rise in recent years as the internet and mobile browsing platforms continue to advance.