The World’s Most Valuable and Under-Utilised Resource. Data

Data. 4 letters to describe a field where even the term trillions isn’t enough to describe its real value.

If you’ve been following DJS Process Consulting over the past 8 months, you’ll know about our recent expansion into the very data based revolution coming for all processing industries. This revolution is shaking a lot of ground and it’s because businesses are just now realising the incredible gains that can be achieved by manipulating their data in new ways.
A year ago, when I first investigated if any other businesses were utilising data in the same way I had begun to for my previous employer I found little activity. However, since then it’s clear buzz has been building:

BBC“The Computer Brains Making Power Plants More Efficient”

McKinsey & Company“applying big-data strategies to better inform decision making could generate up to $100 billion in value annually across the US health-care system”

ABB“Raw data is useless, unless it is turned into knowledge. Data needs to be analyzed and applied ambitiously and innovatively – to the benefit of decision-makers, the individual industry, and the whole network”

FoodEngineering“Data sitting in storage can’t unlock its secrets to your success without using the right tools”

This comes as businesses start to realise the true value of the data they’re sitting on. By realising there are more ways to exploit their data everyone is at the very beginning of a new wave which with very low cost will bring savings in the millions through efficiency and productivity gains without impacting day-to-day operations or business structure. All of which is the result of looking at their mountains of data from a different angle

So, where did all the motivation to create this data come from in the first place?

Well, no matter which processing industry you were involved in over the past few decades whether it was mining, food, pharmaceutical, recycling or any other you no doubt saw the revolution that was mechanical process automation; the introduction of control systems that enabled plants to automatically control all the key operating parameters to maximise efficiency. A revolution that brought massive and unquestionably worthwhile benefits to all processing industries.

While this revolution took place, it required direct measurement of as many process variables as possible to provide the most reliable and stable process; more sensors brought more savings. Thus, because the benefit so great and purpose so obvious, we created huge banks of data with the clear but tunnel-visioned purpose of mechanical automation. It’s a combination of the clarity and tunnel-vision with steadily rising computing power that’s brought us to this strange position with unfathomable amounts of under-utilised data in thousands of businesses and it’s the realisation of this position and the drive to capitalise on it that is the next wave starting to hit all processing industries.

As is typically the case for all new fields, this topic still has several names, AI, Data Mining, Decision Automation, Advanced Process Control or even loosely referred to under the umbrella of “Internet of Things”. Whatever you prefer to call it, this wave is about giving our big, simple, data-rich, robotic processes the power of a mind.

It is our specialty at DJS to combine decades of process engineering experience with programming that allows us to leverage the full value from data; this enables us to talk about increasing business bottom lines not in fixed values but in percentages.

It is by asking better questions that we get better answers and thus our simple question to business leaders is:

“Given your process is collecting vastly more data than any human mind could handle. How are you certain you’re getting the full value from your data?”