Part of my interest is in the upscaling of Business Intelligence. No, I don't mean scalability in the classic computer science context, I mean in the class contest from going middle class to upper middle class and beyond. What I'm saying is that most of BI is downright dowdy. But dowdy as compared to what? Well how about this dashboard to start?
It is impossible for someone like me to look at this and see it as a dashboard with several database feeds behind it. But I know that it is not a dashboard, which is to say there are not live database feeds behind it. It is merely a picture. Granted, it is a marvelously pretty picture and it is worth 1000 words, but it is also a one shot deal. It is good for a month and then it is out of date, which means that everything about the business model for its creation is also a one shot deal. Get it out to as many people as possible and change their minds NOW. Forget about tomorrow and nevermind yesterday. This is static, and it's exactly the kind of stuff journalists do most of the time.
What if you got somebody like the graphic designer who put this brilliant snapshot in place with somebody like me who could set up live database feed behind all that data, with another front-end specialist who could add controls to tools that consumed that data. Wouldn't that be marvelous? It would, but it would only be a proof of concept. What it would not be is something anyone could rely on. That is because the world of people whose business is journalism do not generally communicate with the world of people whose business is business intelligence. But maybe that can change.
In this post, I'm going to jump on journalists for a moment. From here on out, every time I meet a journalist I am going to ask them if they have any longitudinal interests. We know folks like Michael J. Totten knows the Middle East and we will always, always have a pressing need for essays, dispatches, and compelling writing of all sorts. But when it comes to communicating data, editors of journals need to do a much better job, otherwise their move into internet media is only half-assed. Seriously. What happened to classified ads is a classic case in point. Not only has that little marketplace shifted but its dynamism has increased tremendously since it left the hands of print journalists.
However, print journalists have a monsterous and massive advantage. And that is that they have attention span, context and connections. That makes them curators and that's how the best of them get to be the 'papers of record'. Bloggers can be excellent, but blog real-estate is not necessarily longitudinal.
What we need is an editor's hand at putting the history of matters in context for what essentially is a permanent exhibit. If you are the editor of the crime desk in Seattle, when is murder ever going to be uninteresting. Or as I was saying the other day to a journalist, how did milk cartons become the medium of choice for a search network of missing children. Every bureau in every newspaper has the capacity for becoming the data source of record, but only if they try. Who is going to try?
If you think I'm only talking about charts and graphics, you don't get me yet. Check out Homicide Wach in DC. There are dynamic charts and graphics to go along with those, but this is social media hosting as well. Every aspect of a story needs to be put in place, and 'four column inches' is not the whole solution. What doesn't become referencable multimedia at the 'newspaper' website becomes market share for someone with the foresight to use all the technology. Now that there is AWS compute on demand for all such tech, there is no excuse. Again. It's all about the editors with foresight.