According to one software and services company, data is ‘the new water’ in our data-driven world. It is essential for businesses to live and grow, just as water is for people. But it hasn’t always been this way…

Data used to be a limiting factor when it came to business intelligence development. The situation was something more akin to a drought. Often you simply couldn’t get the data you wanted. And when you could, you either didn’t have the tools to see it the way you wanted to, or you couldn’t see it fast enough, often enough or recent enough. As a result, businesses were in a sort of drought.

This was the case until the 1950s, which was the time when data technology really started to manifest. Since then, ‘data water’ has become more and more available to the point that, now, we are living in the era of ‘big data’. So much so, in fact, that we seem to be drowning in the stuff!

Back when data was in short supply, businesses began to focus a lot more on tapping into water and, as a result, business intelligence developed and solutions matured to the point where, today, they can do pretty much anything you need. Big data technology allows you to stream, store and analyse huge amounts of structured and unstructured data very cheaply. This has brought advanced analytical insight within everyone’s grasp.

In our current era of big data the limiting factor is no longer the data itself, but the people who are drinking it. The challenge for businesses now is to learn how to drink only the ‘clean water’, and in the right way. Think of it like this: you may have access to a lake full of water (data), but you can only drink so much before you start to feel ill.

You don’t want to end up drowning in your data either. True business intelligence development doesn’t simply mean creating and relying up more data, just because so many tools make it possible. Trust us when we say that the tools alone cannot keep you afloat. So don’t waste money investing in the wrong BI solutions – remember a farmer needs a tractor not a Maserati!

And talking of farmers… it’s crucial to remember that you cannot survive off water alone. Your water source should also be used to grow your crops. Following this analogy, data shouldn’t be purely what your business feeds off. Ultimately, in order to grow and thrive, you need to align your data with people and processes if you want your business intelligence projects to lead to results that have real value.

So, our best advice here is to start with your goals and processes in order to work out which ones really require the help of data. From this, you can work out what kind of business intelligence you need and the tools that will help you deliver it. This, in a nutshell, is Saltare’s 4dBI philosophy. Keep this philosophy as your focus and remember, always drink sensibly!

Do you have more questions about how how to avoid drowning in your data? Or perhaps you have your own advice to add? Why not join the discussion in Saltare’s community? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Head over to

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Saltare enables businesses to work more effectively, make better decisions and achieve their goals.

We don't produce code or sell BI technology. Our services focus on what your BI technology really needs to deliver, and why. This means that your BI projects will cost less and achieve more. You'll also waste less time and effort on trivial reporting, and instead focus more on ensuring that your highly relevant BI solutions are being accurately interpreted, and consistently applied to create lasting positive business change.

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