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Data analytics – the human input


English: Apple director Steve Jobs shows iPhone

English: Apple director Steve Jobs shows iPhone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Big data is a big thing in the management accounting practitioner world, and in the professional journals too. I have previously written some posts on what big data is (see for example, here and here) and I have noted that humans are still needed to interpret data. Here’s a great example, below. Before I start, just keep in mind what I always say to my students about technology – technology within computing devices is essentially dumb, it is nothing more that a series of 0 an 1 which do exactly what we program it to do.

 

This post from CSO outlines how good analytic is essential. It cites an example of an analysis of social media to predict trends in the US unemployment rate. The analysis used twitter feeds and other social media. It attempted to identify key words such as “jobs” and “unemployment”. A huge spike in the number of tweets appeared. Why? Steve Jobs had just died, so the word “jobs” was all over social media. As a human, we can easily distinguish the meanings of words, but an automated analysis or word collecting tool cannot. I believe management accountants have a key role to play in such sense-making of business big-data – after all we know the business quite well.

 

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About martinjquinn

I am an accounting academic, accountant and author based near Dublin, Ireland.

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