21 July, 2022

Ocean exploration and enabling data driven decisions

The ocean is the lifeblood of Earth. It covers over seventy (70) percent of our planet, it regulates temperature, it is driving weather and supporting all living organisms. The ocean has played a decisive role in history for food, transportation, commerce, communication, innovations and inspirations.

However, more than eighty (80) percent of the ocean is unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored. Much remains to be learned from exploring the mysteries of the depths. From identifying and describing the biological, physical, chemical, geological and archaeological aspects of the ocean to understand ocean dynamics.

Depth sounding

Throughout history, determining the depth of water has been an important part of naval life. Knowing the depth was critical to all captains to avoid the ship sinking or just to determine the position of the ship.

Depth has been measured through depth sounding, or simply sounding, a technique that has been used for thousands of years. Sailors would use a lead line or sounding line, a rope with a heavy piece of lead tied to the end and with a mark every fathom (1.8 metres). The lead line was thrown overboard, and a sailor would be counting the marks till the lead sank to the bottom.

Lead lines also had another function. The sounding lead was usually coated in animal fat or wax. When the lead hit bottom, the content of the ocean floor like sand, pebbles, clay, shells would be collected. By knowing the depth and the nature of the ocean bottom the captain could make an educated guess and take decisions on how to move forward. The data was then logged and saved for later. The captain made decisions based on data, but the amount of data was limited and imprecise.

This method of seafloor mapping was very time consuming, especially when charting deep water. Furthermore, it only gave an indication of nearby areas as the lead would only cover a very small part of the seafloor. This technique was in use until the early twentieth (20th) century when modern devices started replacing it, devices that were much more efficient and could automatically target larger areas. However, today much of the ocean is still unexplored.

Benefits of a data-driven decision-making approach

So why all this talk about the ocean? Taking decisions based on data increases your ability to succeed. Data-driven decision making (DDDM) is the practice where data is collected, analyzed, and decisions are made based on the insights which are derived from the collected information. The data-driven decision also helps to use past information to predict what is to happen in the future.

The most obvious benefit of data-driven decision making is that it ties business decisions to analytics insights. Not only will it likely give you a better result but when decisions are based on data and facts, it dramatically increases the speed of decision making. The decision process becomes fast, reliable as the team can make confident decisions.

Many times, data-driven decision making can also improve teamwork and engagement as it leads to enhanced transparency and accountability to the team. Furthermore, a data-driven decision-making approach can increase coordination and can drive automation of tasks and activities. With better coordination, you also enable greater consistency of services and processes delivered and evaluated. In the end, it is about improving efficiency and making a true impact in the decision you will make as a team and allow you to move and grow along with a changing environment.

However, the success of data-based decision making depends on the method that is used in data collection and the quality of data.

Establishing capabilities for becoming data-driven

Fundamentally, data-driven decision making means working towards key business goals by leveraging verified, analyzed data rather than merely sounding in the deep. Data-driven decision making involves collecting data based on measurable goals or KPIs, analyzing patterns and facts from insights, and utilizing them to develop strategies and decisions.

We talk to many brand protection teams from various industries and regions. By far the most common complaint we hear is that brand protection teams struggle to obtain even the most basic data. Accessing quality, trusted data can be a big hurdle if your information sits in many disconnected sources. In many cases, brand protection teams do not have an appropriate digital platform for collecting data.

Like the old captains on ships brand protection managers are sounding for an individual case or suspect data without the full overview. They do not have the proper tools to gather, store and analyze critical data for making the decisions. Their current digital tools and processes do not reflect the breadth or depth of the required information. Their tools disable them to aggregate information, visualize data, discovering details and patterns.

Brand protection is a complex business function, where data is needed to be mapped, observed, and explored. Gathering the right data is crucial to the analytical process and the data collection should start immediately if it is not already ongoing. Start with data sources with high impact and low complexity. Modern brand protection platforms enable you to collect data in a structured way. As a next step, they allow you to integrate with multiple data sources. And finally, they enable you to establish a data warehouse where large volumes of data are stored, shared and analyzed.

A data-driven approach will empower your brand protection team to make better decisions, so counterfeiters, clear the deck!

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