Monday, March 11, 2013

Reporting - The next phase in our digitization of assets


As a kid I watched with awe, vinyl records going around and around and I marvelled at the fact that sound came from it.  By the age of about 7, I'd have wrecked countless records as experimented with pins, needles, staples, and any other number of small sharp things to see what the properties of each was when applied to a record.  One day, I saw a Philips vinyl video player. (As an adult, I think it was some sort of TED player) This was the neatest thing.  To think that you could have sound and video on a record was just mind blowing.  Needless to say, when the CD was first shown on TV (I would have been about 8 or 10yrs old), I was blown away by it too.  But then a funny thing happened.  We went from CD to CD-ROM, to Video Disc, to DVD, to DVD-ROM.  It almost seemed like in a space of a few years we were treating this medium like some wonder product that would last a thousand years.  The reality was, of course, that the disc format was already in question by the time we got to the release of Blu-Ray discs.

In the past 5 years though, we've nearly all abandoned physical media around the home and the workplace.  However, this doesn't mean that our things are not still stored on physical media.  Somewhere, your webmail or cloud system is sitting on a physical drive.

What has happened is that the thing we interact with and understand has been taken away from us.  In the process, we've been largely deprogrammed from thinking about the reality of the thing - the usual marketing spiel is that things "have been simplified".  This is like in the old days when everyone knew beef came from cows and eggs come from chickens - but now both come in trays at the supermarket.  The physical reality of where beef and eggs come from has not changed, but the physical presentation of how it is delivered has changed considerably.

Going back to technology, you have to question what's going on?  Here's what's happening:
1) Things are being digitized.  Therefore, things we used to hold (letters, records, CD's, photos, books, etc) are all being converted to a digital format.
2) The storage of your digital things are being held away from you "for safekeeping".

So, now think about media and how it talks of the "digital curve".  They are a little right, talking about TV and print being digitized and served up from central repositories, but there's a bigger issue that's going to become a problem.  

Reporting.

When you have a lot of anything, be it books, music, money, patients, customers, photos, being able to take stock, account, and report on it becomes a priority.  This is going to be a big thing in a few years - we will be drowning in our own reports.