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Enhancing Data Comprehension: The Power of Semantics

Myriam Sillevis Smitt
Business Consultant
Myriam Sillevis Smitt is a Business Consultant at Harmony Group, known for her collaborative and pragmatic approach to digital transformations. She has a Master of Science (MSc) in Human Movement Sciences Research from VU University Amsterdam, with a focus on neurological and degenerative diseases.
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Effectively Making Decisions: Put Data Semantics on Your Agenda

In today's data-driven business landscape, the ability to collect and analyse vast amounts of data is essential for staying competitive. However, the true value of data lies not just in its collection, but in its interpretation and application. This is where data semantics comes in.

Data semantics is the process of structuring, documenting, and interpreting data to ensure its accuracy and relevance for decision-making. It's about understanding the meaning behind the numbers and using that understanding to drive business outcomes.

A Healthcare Example: Stress Measurements and Data

Imagine your hospital has developed a new technique for measuring stress through sweat and blood pressure. Suddenly, you have access to a wealth of new data that could be used to make informed decisions about patient health. But how can you ensure that this data is interpreted accurately and without bias?

This question is not asked often enough, even though data collection is just the beginning. In healthcare, advanced analysis techniques have been developed to accurately interpret blood pressure and oxygen saturation data. However, when it comes to stress, a variable measured in many different ways, interpretation can vary widely, potentially leading to incorrect advice for patients. There are currently no validated guidelines for handling physiological stress data.

From Collection to Interpretation and Documentation

To address the challenge of data interpretation, businesses need to prioritise data semantics. This involves not only collecting data but also ensuring that it is properly documented, interpreted, and understood by all stakeholders.

Here are a few tips for implementing data semantics in your organisation:

  • Never interpret data in isolation; always consider the context in which it was collected.
  • Raise awareness among employees about the importance of data semantics and involve them in the development of data interpretation protocols.
  • Establish clear protocols for data interpretation and documentation to ensure consistency and knowledge transfer across the organisation.

By prioritising data semantics, businesses can unlock the full potential of their data and make more informed, data-driven decisions. In an era where data is the driving force behind progress, data semantics is the key to unlocking its true value.

In an era where data is the driving force behind progress, data semantics is the key to unlocking its true value. If you're facing challenges with data in your business, Harmony is here to help. Contact us today for a conversation or brainstorm.

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