I have a lot to say about the importance of context. But what exactly does this word “context” mean in the information management space? The Oxford American Dictionary has this entry for context:
1. Parts that surround and clarify a word or phrase
2. Relevant circumstances
The word “bat” by itself is ambiguous. “He swung the bat” or “the bat-mobile turned left” bring context to the term bat. Similarly, in the information management domain context means the association of related data points in such a manner as to yield the highest possible degree of understanding. When a record is being evaluated for some potential action while at the same time other related data points exist but are not made available, context is missing. Decisions made without available context run the risk of being poor decisions.
Last year I checked into the St. Regis hotel in New York at 1am, requested a wake-up call for 10am and ordered breakfast for a 10:30am delivery. The maid woke me up as she knocked on my door at 9am. She was not aware of these additional data points – had no context – and as a consequence interfered with my experience. Curious about the state of information management at one of the finest hotels on earth, I queried the morning manager. He very nicely conveyed the fact that guests are expected to place the “do not disturb” placard on the door. True, this is one form of context! After having thought about this I realized that, to the best of my knowledge, no hotel in the world has an automated system in place to handle this relatively easy context problem.
Enterprise context translates directly into better customer service and a more efficient labor force. While information integration is a core component, real-time enterprise context requires Perpetual Analytics with Sequence Neutrality.
Context is a "main thing" and as such there is so much more to be said. Stay tuned.