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The Paradox of Being Data Rich but Information Poor

Addressing Data Information Challenges and Opportunities

Many organisations generate and collects vast amounts of data, but often struggles to extract meaningful insights - Miniotec
Many organisations generate and collects vast amounts of data, but often struggles to extract meaningful insights.

Introduction


In the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors, data validation plays a crucial role in ensuring the accuracy and reliability of data for decision-making. These industries generate vast amounts of data from various sources, including primary and secondary data sources, alternative data and IIoT sensors. The paradox of being data-rich but information-poor arises when organisations struggle to manage, analyse and derive meaningful insights from the data they collect. This article examines the data landscape in these sectors, the decision-making process and the role of data quality, data literacy and data governance in overcoming information poverty.


This article:

  • Considers how the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors generate and collects vast amounts of data, but often struggles to extract meaningful insights due to issues with data validation, data literacy and data governance.

  • Explores the challenges and benefits of data validation in these sectors, including the rise of IIoT and its role in unlocking data not previously accessible.

  • Provides practical steps and best practices for organisations to improve their data management practices and decision-making, ultimately driving increased efficiency, reduced costs and sustainable growth.

Data Source

Description

Primary

First-hand data collected directly from the source

Secondary

Data obtained from other existing sources

IIoT

Devices that collect and transmit data from machinery and equipment

External

Data collected from sources outside the organisation

Heterogeneous

Data from various sources with different structures and formats

Alternative

Unconventional data sources that provide new insights

Federated

Data collected from various sources within an organisation

Table 01 - Types of Data Sources in the Energy, Mining, and Infrastructure Sectors



Data Landscape in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure Sectors


Data Sources and Types


These sectors rely on a variety of data sources to inform decision making, including primary and secondary data sources. Primary data sources are typically collected directly from the field, while secondary data sources are derived from existing databases, publications and reports. IIoT sensors play a critical role in collecting heterogeneous data, such as temperature, pressure and vibration measurements and oil quality data to monitor equipment health and optimise operations. Alternative data, like satellite imagery and social media feeds, can provide unique insights into market trends, supply chain disruptions and environmental impacts.


Data Storage and Management Challenges


Managing federated data and integrating multi-source data pose significant challenges in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. Advances in data storage technologies, such as cloud computing and big data solutions, help organisations store and process large datasets. Data lakes and open-source data warehouses enable organisations to ingest, store and analyse raw data from diverse sources, facilitating the use of dynamic data and parquet data types for improved analytics and decision-making.


The Decision-Making Process in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure Sectors


Decision Making Under Risk and Uncertainty


Rational decision-making processes are essential for navigating the risks and uncertainties inherent in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. Decision making under risk and uncertainty requires evidence-based, strategic and managerial decision-making approaches to balance short-term objectives and long-term goals. Understanding the decision-making process in management helps organisations make more informed choices and avoid impulsive decisions that could negatively impact operations and financial performance.


Decision Making Under Risk and Uncertainty in Challenging Times Can Cloud Choices - Miniotec
Decision Making Under Risk and Uncertainty in Challenging Times Can Cloud Choices

Group and Collaborative Decision-Making


Group and collaborative decision-making play a significant role in these sectors, as complex projects often require input from multiple stakeholders with diverse expertise. Decentralised and integrated decision-making can foster a more inclusive and adaptive decision-making environment, empowering teams to respond to changing conditions more effectively. Leadership in decision-making is vital for establishing a clear vision, aligning team members and driving consensus on the best course of action.


The Argument for Information Poverty in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure Sectors


Data Quality Issues


Common data quality problems in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors include inaccuracy, inconsistency and incompleteness. Low-quality data can lead to poor decision-making, increased costs and reduced operational efficiency. Data quality assurance and data quality control processes can help mitigate these issues by identifying and correcting errors, ensuring data integrity and maintaining data quality metrics to monitor performance.


Lack of Data Literacy


Information poverty in these sectors can also be attributed to a lack of data literacy among stakeholders. Data literacy is essential for problem-solving and decision-making, as it enables individuals to understand, analyse and communicate data-driven insights. Fostering a culture of data literacy in these sectors can help bridge the gap between data-rich environments and meaningful information.


Information Overload


Excessive data can lead to information overload, which may hinder effective decision-making.


The proliferation of IIoT data and data-rich environments can sometimes overwhelm decision-makers, leading to cognitive biases and suboptimal choices. This is particularly true of raw, unprocessed data where interpretation and analysis is required. For those intelligent and enhanced systems that provide predictive and prescriptive information to decision makers, this issue is often mitigated.


To combat information overload, organisations must develop strategies for managing, filtering and prioritising data to ensure that decision-makers have access to the most relevant and actionable insights.


The Argument against Information Poverty in Energy, Mining and Infrastructure Sectors


Advances in Data Validation Techniques

The Power of Data Visualisation and Analytics - Miniotec
The Power of Data Visualisation and Analytics.

Modern data validation techniques, such as AI, machine learning and automated data validation, can significantly improve data quality in these sectors. Data validation in many modern solutions can help organisations identify and correct errors, inconsistencies and anomalies, leading to more reliable data for decision-making. The use of open-source and dynamic data can also facilitate the discovery of new insights and foster innovation.


Growing Awareness of Data Governance


An increased focus on data governance can reduce information poverty by ensuring data quality and reliability. Data governance principles and best practices, such as master data governance and data governance maturity, can help organisations establish a robust framework for managing and protecting their data assets. By implementing data governance strategies, organisations can create a single source of truth that promotes data integrity and drives more informed decision-making.


The Power of Data Visualisation and Analytics


Data visualisation and analytics can help organisations make sense of complex data, enabling them to transform data-rich environments into information-rich insights. Data analytics and data science for quality can uncover patterns, trends and relationships in data that might otherwise go unnoticed, enhancing the decision-making process. Data-driven decision-making can lead to increased efficiency, reduced costs and improved outcomes in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors.


Balancing Data Abundance and Information Quality


Implementing Effective Data Validation Processes


Implementing robust data validation processes is crucial for organisations in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. These processes should include data quality monitoring systems that identify and address data quality issues promptly. By proactively managing data quality, organisations can make better-informed decisions based on accurate and reliable information.


Developing Data Literacy and Skills


To bridge the gap between data abundance and information quality, organisations must invest in data literacy training and education. Fostering a data-literate culture in these sectors can empower employees to make more informed decisions and leverage data-driven insights effectively. Strategies for developing data literacy include workshops, online courses and ongoing professional development opportunities.


Embracing Data-Driven Decision Making


Organisations in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors should embrace data-driven decision-making as a core business strategy. This approach can lead to better decision-making, increased efficiency and reduced costs. CRM data quality and data governance technology can further support this transition by ensuring that decision-makers have access to reliable, up-to-date information.


Establishing a Single Source of Truth


A single source of truth is essential for maintaining data integrity and driving informed decision-making. Data governance can help organisations create and maintain a single source of truth by ensuring the integrity of data as it moves through the asset lifecycle. Strategies for establishing a single source of truth include data standardisation, data integration and data synchronisation.


Establishing a Single Source of Truth - Miniotec
Establishing a Single Source of Truth

Data Integration and Synchronisation


Integrating and synchronising data from multiple sources can be a challenge for organisations in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. Data lake data governance and blended data can help overcome these challenges by centralising and harmonising disparate data sources. Implementing best practices for data governance and security can further ensure the protection and reliability of integrated data.


The Role of IIoT in Data Liberation and Condition Monitoring – Unlocking Data Not Previously Accessible


The Rise of IIoT


The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has revolutionised data generation and collection in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. With the widespread adoption of sensors and connected devices, IIoT has enabled organisations to collect data from previously inaccessible sources, providing a wealth of information that was not available before. The growth of IIoT has resulted in massive volumes of data being generated, offering significant opportunities for improved decision-making.


Leveraging IIoT Data for Competitive Advantage


Organisations in these sectors are leveraging IIoT data to gain a competitive advantage. The applications of IIoT data are diverse, including predictive maintenance and asset management. Predictive maintenance, for instance, can help organisations identify potential issues with their assets before they become major problems, reducing downtime and improving operational efficiency. Asset management, on the other hand, allows organisations to track the performance of their assets, enabling better decision-making when it comes to maintenance, repair and replacement.

IIoT Application

Description

Predictive Maintenance

Using data from IIoT sensors to predict when equipment is likely to fail, allowing for proactive maintenance and reduced downtime

Asset Management

IIoT data can be used to track the location and status of assets, monitor usage, and optimise performance

Near Real-Time Monitoring

IIoT data allows for near real-time monitoring of equipment and processes, allowing for timely interventions and reduced risks

Energy Management

IIoT data can be used to optimise energy consumption and identify areas for improvement

Supply Chain Management

IIoT data can be used to track the movement of goods and materials, optimize logistics, and reduce waste

Table 02 - IIoT Applications in Energy, Mining, and Infrastructure Sectors



Challenges and Considerations for IIoT Implementation


Despite the benefits of IIoT, implementing this technology comes with its own set of challenges. One of the primary challenges is data integration and synchronisation. IIoT data is often generated from multiple sources and organisations must have effective systems in place to ensure that this data is integrated and synchronised to provide a comprehensive view of operations.


Condition Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance with IIoT


As touched upon above, one of the most significant benefits of IIoT is the ability to enable condition monitoring and predictive maintenance. By continuously monitoring assets in real-time, organisations can identify potential issues before they become significant problems. This approach to maintenance is proactive and can reduce downtime, increase asset lifespan and improve operational efficiency with very often, a very short Return on Investment (ROI).


Machine learning and AI play a critical role in analysing IIoT data for predictive maintenance and condition monitoring. These technologies can analyse large volumes of data and identify patterns that are not visible to the human eye. By leveraging these technologies, organisations can make more informed decisions about their assets, ultimately improving their operations.


In Summary - Data Rich But Information Poor?


In the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors, the debate surrounding information poverty is centred around the challenges of data validation, data literacy and data governance. While some argue that these sectors suffer from information poverty due to data quality issues, lack of data literacy and information overload, others believe that advances in data validation techniques, growing awareness of data governance and the power of data visualisation and analytics can mitigate these challenges.


Effective data validation, data literacy and data governance are essential for informed decision-making within these industries. Organisations should invest in processes and tools that improve data quality, such as automated data validation and data quality monitoring systems, to ensure better decision-making outcomes. By addressing information poverty, these sectors can reap numerous benefits, including increased efficiency, reduced costs and improved decision-making.


The quality of data and information plays a crucial role in achieving these benefits. Industry leaders and policymakers should collaborate to establish standards and guidelines for data management and validation, promoting a culture that values data-driven insights, collaboration and innovation. Fostering this culture will help harness the full potential of the data-rich environments in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors.


Organisations must also focus on developing data literacy skills and implementing robust data governance strategies to ensure data integrity and drive informed decision-making. Master data governance and data governance maturity are essential for achieving data quality and reliability in these sectors.


We are optimistic of a positive and continued operational evolution of the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors as organisations continue to improve their data management practices, invest in data governance and leverage the power of data for better decision-making and sustainable growth. By embracing a data-driven culture, these sectors can unlock their full potential and contribute to a more sustainable and efficient world.



Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is federated data and why is it challenging to manage in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors?


A: Federated data refers to data that is distributed across multiple systems and sources within an organisation. In the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors, federated data can include data from a range of sources such as IoT sensors, external data and historical data. Managing federated data can be challenging due to issues with data quality, data integration and data synchronisation. Organisations need to implement robust data governance and data quality management processes to ensure the integrity and reliability of federated data.

Q: What is the impact of information overload on decision-making in these sectors?


A: Information overload can occur when organisations have access to an excessive amount of data, making it challenging to process and analyse effectively. Information overload can lead to poor decision-making and a lack of actionable insights. To mitigate the impact of information overload, organisations need to prioritise data quality and implement effective data visualisation and analytics tools.

Q: What is the role of data literacy in reducing information poverty?


A: Data literacy refers to the ability of individuals to read, understand and work with data effectively. In the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors, data literacy is crucial for problem-solving, decision-making and gaining insights from data. Lack of data literacy can contribute to information poverty and limit an organisations' ability to leverage data effectively. Organisations need to invest in data literacy training and foster a culture that values data-driven insights to reduce information poverty.

Q: How can organisations establish a single source of truth to ensure data integrity?


A: A single source of truth refers to a system or process that ensures the accuracy and reliability of data across an organisation. In the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors, establishing a single source of truth is crucial for data integrity and effective decision-making. To establish a single source of truth, organisations need to prioritise data governance and implement data quality assurance processes. They also need to ensure that data is integrated, synchronised and stored in a secure and accessible manner.

Q: How can organisations ensure that their data validation processes are effective?


A: To ensure that data validation processes are effective, organisations should establish clear criteria for data quality and develop a framework for validating data against those criteria. This may involve implementing automated validation processes, using data quality tools and involving subject matter experts in the validation process. Continuous monitoring and improvement are also essential to maintaining the quality of data over time.


Q: What role does data governance play in ensuring the integrity of data in the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors?


A: Data governance is essential for ensuring the integrity of data by establishing clear policies and processes for data management, quality assurance and security. By implementing data governance practices, organisations can ensure that data is collected, stored and used in a consistent and standardised manner, which can improve data quality and reliability. Additionally, data governance can help organisations to comply with regulatory requirements and mitigate risks associated with data breaches.


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About Miniotec:


Miniotec is a digital consulting and technology solutions provider, dedicated to supporting companies in their digital transformation journeys. Established by a group of experienced engineers, we emphasise the harmonious integration of people, processes and technology. Our team has a rich history of working across various sectors, from energy and resources to infrastructure and industry. We are trusted by the world's largest miners, oil and gas giants, utility companies and even budding start-ups and believe in the transformative power of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and its role in unlocking valuable data insights. Through IIoT, we aim to facilitate better decision-making, enhance operational activities and promote safer work environments. At Miniotec, our goal is to guide and support, ensuring every digital step is a step forward.







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