What is Datafication? – Definition & Examples

The Upfront Analytics TeamEducation3 Comments

What is Datafication?

  • Modern technological trend which takes a process that was previously invisible into data
  • Many organizations are dependent on data to operate properly or at all
  • Most businesses today are essentially data businesses, with a large data infrastructure behind them

What is Data used for?

  • After converting processes to data, it can be tracked, monitored, and optimized
  • Even if data isn’t used, businesses can still capture large amounts of data, store it, and then decide later on how they will utilize it

Historical examples

  • Similar example is electrification
  • Late 1800’s through early 1900’s – electrical distribution systems were built out through America
    • Started with large corporations and governments building their own electrical generators for private use
    • Soon led to expansion throughout America, and allowed the entire nation to industrialize
    • Electricity soon became crucial to businesses to the point that a business could not survive without it
  • The same is said to be happening with big data, by process of datafication

Business Examples:

  • Social media is a great example of datafiying aspects of users daily lives
    • Facebook datafies our friendships and posts
    • Twitter datafies our followers, following, Tweets, time of day, and interactions
    • LinkedIn datafies our professional contacts, locations, likes, posts
  • Business big data allows us to learn things on a large scale macro level that we couldn’t accomplish in the past.
  • Former market research tactics of focus groups were severely limited – now we can scale at a huge rate.

Personal Examples:

  • Going for a jog – one can monitor distance, speed, pulse, heart rate
  • Sleep schedule – quality of sleep, duration, sleeping without interruption
  • Shopping – how much food to purchase, finding lowest prices, monitoring quanitities consumed in a household
  • All of these are examples where the newfound data that we have received will allow us to make better, smarter decisions using data that we did not have previously.

Datafication vs Digitalization

  • Digitalization captures the impact and effect of the digital revolution on society: businesses, personal lives, and social elements
    • Began about 50 years ago, when computers were being introduced slowly into businesses
    • Due to lower technology costs, more and more businesses were able to digitalize more quickly
  • Datafication represents the next phase of digitalization – collecting data is cheaper, is proving to be very useful, and will soon become crucial to all businesses



3 Comments on “What is Datafication? – Definition & Examples”

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