We Sri Lankans believe in astrology to a greater extent. Our ancestors used to do all the important things in life on an auspicious time (In Sinhalese this is called Nakatha). We were born and raised in that mentality, fair to say these are in our genes and we cant neglect it since it has become part of our traditions. But if you look at the big picture what does astrology do ? It basically calculates the impact the stars had on you during the time you were born based on an algorithm (may be our ancestors collected data for 1000 years to create these algorithm/manuals ). And finally gives us a document with graphs which our parents keep it very safe. This piece of paper which is refereed to as the “Handahana” used to come out when ever there is an important function ahead or if you are going through a bad patch in life, probably to rediscover the impact stars have on you.

This whole process is modern day “Big Data Analysis”. Our ancestors have found a link between the stars and human life. They might have proved it with major data analysis processes back then and come up with these concepts which the current astrologers use as theory.

OK, all that was said not to argue with any practice nor to say we all have to believe in such process, all I wanted to point out was that we have been having major data analysis processes within our society and most of the Sri Lankans’ have practiced it unknowingly. But sadly today when it comes to other tasks, most of us are not using data for decision making.

The most famous Sri Lankan business tycoon currently , Mr Dhammika Perera has once said in an interview that he even does not leave his house during the “Rahu Kalaya” (not the best time of the day according to astrology), Why? because he has figured out that he had only a 50% success rate on the decisions or tasks undertaken during that time of the day, therefore he started skipping it. Just think how data has helped him? Anyway we all know him through his many paper interviews that he is a major data analyst and he has his own business models etc. (read more) It should be highly appreciated that with all the years of experience he still does not take decisions based on emotions but purely dependent on data models. Fair to say he has reached the levels which we expect all others to reach, when is comes to decision making through data.

OK, I have come to the point which I wanted to emphasize more, which is how can we or the society push people in the big seats to leave a side emotions in decision making. We have almost 30 years of existence in digital world and many more years worth of printed data. All these information can be used to foresee the future. Identifying and collection of relevant data requires skill, this skill is basically called the business knowledge or the domain knowledge.

At this point of age (with more than 5 years of working experience at-least) most of us can recall the outcome of projects/tasks which completed on time and delayed. A well planned project can be delayed … why? according to my experience most of the decisions were taken using emotions not data… Even for the tiny task you perform each day has to be logged and then analyzed for improvements later with a collection of the same set of data. The decisions you come up will be with your own data and own data models and these can save you Time and Money. These tiny planning processes with former data will take you and your leaders a long way….

Most companies dont carry forward the learning points of one project to another and then do the same mistakes again and again… it can be a new project team, a new client but the mistake is a repeating mistake… All of us dont need to be Data Scientists or hire a Data Scientist … but carrying forward the experience through data is critically important … you always need to look for similar projects done before without planning fresh …

Globally,with the advances of IOT the amounts of digital data is HUGE. Anyone with the correct skill can predict where I will go today and what I will be wearing , my shirt size , my bank account balance or when my car will crash. How can all these help? I dont need to tell.

Well to make things a little bit interesting, all of you recall the Presidential Election in 2015? Well I assume all Sri Lankans has had an impact on the outcome of it. Leaving all that aside, how many of you know that former President was given an analysis report on the then situation which clearly showed a defeat in sight if the elections were called early?

In conclusion…We are now in an era where all official level decisions can be made using former data … (<< reading the lines in between is important) I am not saying we need to keep emotions away but why take a risk when you have data? Also I believe in future a qualification in data science will be mandatory for a role in management. (Same like an MBA today)

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