Business Intelligence Tools: Separating Data from Information

Data is the source of information, which in turn is the source of knowledge creation. How you see data matters. The same data set can be interpreted in many ways – not just by you – but by others, individually, and collectively. Who views data with whom can change the interpretation of the data entirely, which demonstrates that there are many unknown aspects of our lives that contribute to understanding data which may have nothing to do with the data itself.

Government and Federal Data Needs

Data for the most part, particularly coming from the federal sector, emanates from an agency source that creates it. Agencies that produce such data are the “authoritative source” for the particular data set they produce. The Census Department produces census data, the Treasury produces tax revenue data, GSA produces federal spending data, amongst a multitude of data sets produced by many agencies. The US government is an impressive data machine, churning out billions of bytes per minute and adding those to the mountains of existing data.

Almost everyone interested in doing business with the US federal government needs access to data. Whether you are a lawmaker, a research analyst, or a business trying to win a government contract, the data each wants is the same, and it comes from the source that produced it. Usually, it is the same data everybody else uses, because the source of data never changes.

The difference is only in the way each person consumes the data. Tech savvy folks manipulate the data to extract information which solves a business need. Some download data to visualize in a spreadsheet for gaining new knowledge, while others simply sort it to obtain information they find relevant. Everyone does something with that data, as data in its raw form does little to provide much of anything, let alone meaningful insights.

A multitude of users at all levels demand federal spending data: Contracting Offices, Small Business Program Offices, OSDBU Professionals, HCAs, SPAs, congressional lawmakers, all the way to industry folks employed within the millions of companies small and large who want to do business with the government.

However, it is not raw data that everyone wants, it’s the information locked in that data that everyone wants. Information matters to people in different ways, and to be useful, it must be curated in ways ordinary people can understand it. If they don’t, they will dismiss it with prejudice. What matters to someone in one way could matter to another in a different way. Such is the challenge for data curators. If they don’t think through this carefully, the world of information locked within data will remain dark until someone comes along to humanize it for wide consumption.

How Can I Use Data?

Like any language, data conveys meaning too.

To identify the means with which information can be curated, five critical things or identifiers are required, outlined below:

  1. Information must be comprehensive, carefully integrated from disparate data sources relevant for conducting federal business, automatically updated on a daily basis, and the information presented as usable knowledge for both industry and government
  2. Information must be accurate, of high fidelity, and be reasonably affordable, kept up-to-date, and must be capable of producing point and click reports for a variety of needs for a broad audience. Multiple ways to drill down in the federal contract universe should produce views that provide expected levels of detail (architecturally speaking)
  3. Information accessed must save significant time, reduce or eliminate mistakes, and help an organization do away with manually laborious tasks associated with conducting federal market research, thus putting critical information at the fingertips of those who seek it
  4. Information must provide maximum situational awareness on federal business opportunities and contract actions, as they happen, in real-time
  5. Information must make it easy for government and industry to understand each other’s landscape to the maximum extent possible. Finding experienced companies and teams that can create viable solutions to address agency needs and missions are in the interest on both sides of the fence

The Fedmine Solution

To address the above, Fedmine created its online platform and has served the entire federal marketplace for over a decade. It provides real-time insights into a variety of federal business activities through aggregated information collected from many data sources.

Being a Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) web based solution, it is modifiable to meet the needs of various users for market research, industry tracking, and custom reporting by agency, bureau, military command, industry sector, or by vendors by socioeconomic category. Fedmine tailored its online application from the ground-up to meet the diverse needs of individuals working across a wide variety of government organizations within the federal sector. Now, 15 years since inception, we can confidently say you can slice and dice the data in our system better, faster and way more affordably than from anywhere else.

Fedmine delivers a uniquely crafted solution optimized to facilitate rapid decision-making in support of business development in the federal sector. All users of our system find it intuitive, and easy to use.

Organizations from across the entire federal sector are current users of the system. Many federal government agencies use the data for tracking mission critical budgetary performance on program initiatives, including small business goals management and various executive level reporting needs. There is a GovSuite that comes built-in with all reporting needs an agency has in those areas and more.

The powerful platform on AWS that the Fedmine system is built on is capable of distilling vast amounts of newly created data using cutting edge technology such as Hadoop and Map Reduce. On a daily basis it provides instant situational awareness on hard to obtain facts from across the entire federal government back to the entire sector.

The vastly reduced complexity of information greatly improves efficiency and productivity for organizations that utilize Fedmine, pushing the quality of their internal and external interactions to higher levels.

Federal prime contractors who sell into the federal government, businesses who seek partnerships with government contractors, and federal agencies who purchase from those firms, are all served by a single online platform today called Fedmine. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can simplify the data process to help you drive more revenue for your business.

 

Ashok Mehan

Written by Ashok Mehan