INDEED data is an important element to new discoveries. A collection of data will produce facts and statistics before it is distributed for analysis and reference. An analysed data helps expedite decision-making.
Each data keyed-in into a database would transform into something larger. Even one’s views jotted on the social media is a data collected that would determine the demographic structure of an area, which eventually identify patterns and established relationships among the user’s behaviour. In short, this is called ‘data mining’.
I second the views of Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Madius Tangau, who stressed in his recent article on the benefits of data usage, that analysing data creates information, which would later be interpreted into knowledge. We need to understand that at this age of time, hearsay is considered as unreliable, and information would just be “another assumption” if not backed by data.
Man’s fascination with data is nothing new, and we must thank Edgar Frank ‘Ted’ Codd, an English computer scientist, for opening our eyes. In the 70’s, while working for IBM, he invented the relational model for database management, which became a very influential general theory of data management, and remains as his most mentioned achievement.
According to Codd, the relational model provide a declarative method for specifying data and queries, which allow users to directly state what information the database contains and what information they want from it. It will let the database management system software to describe structures for storing the data and retrieval procedures to answer queries.
Codd’s finding has been further explored, with the development of data mining, which involves collecting, processing, storing and analysing data in order to produce new information. Data mining helps one to analyse a large amount of data to detect common patterns or learn new things. Such data would help employers seek their preferred employees better, searching potential candidates based on certain key words, some based on their qualification, or experience, and whether their expertise have been certified by accredited certification bodies.
The introduction of the Robotic Process Automation Process (RPA), a technology that allows employees to configure computer software (robot) to interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulation data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems, helps boost capabilities, save money and time. And soon, robots will take over the work force. While we welcome modernisation and positive development, we cannot help but to think the fate of the existing manpower. How are our youths going to earn a living?
This is where certification on one’s skills come in. To stay competitive and stand out in the market, one needs to be certified. The ISO/IEC 17024, which is issued to a person to recognise his or her expertise may be the answer. Through the certification’s framework, one will be able to decide what works best for them. The ability to upskill their workforce becomes a key factor for this technology, allowing it to be widely adopted and appreciated by the industry. Their expertise would be profiled, allowing companies or organisations to identify their preferred candidates easier. So, to stand out in the market, ask yourself this question: “Are you certified?”
I believe that such data is crucial to justify the demographic of the human resources mobility globally. The behaviour of the data users on the information utilisation contributions is an important pattern to not just policy makers, but also regulators, businesses and the public to justify the direction of the decision, and strategising methods to materialise their views. Indeed, Malaysia supports the Asean free movement of skilled manpower, and this is stated in the National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS).
What this actually means is that while we challenge the industry standards, we must do it well and correctly without breaking the rules.
Datuk Seri Madius also stressed that one can have data without information, but not vice versa. I agree with him that reliable data is the keystone to valuable information, and that we must be able to think critically and use statistical data for informed decision-making. With all the data laid before us, it would be a waste if they are not utilised meaningfully.
The younger generation has indeed have a heavy task upon them. They will have to be equipped and be data-literate. Science and technology are two important elements that we can no longer deny. With that comes innovation and new creations. And all these are made possible, thanks to the abundance data available.
But, this is where we need to be careful, especially in data selection. We do not want to take in too little because it will cause inefficiency, but too much may affect our decision making. The saying curiosity killed the cat is applicable here. Often, we are made to believe that more information drives smarter decisions, where the more details we absorb, the better off we will be. We were also told that knowledge is power. But let’s sit back for awhile and think – does our thirst for data holds us back? And what if obsessing over information actually reduces the quality of our decisions? Those were the questions raised by Princeton and Stanford University psychologists in a fascinating study titled “On The Pursuit and Misuse of Useless Information”.
Their experiment was simple, where participants were divided into two groups. Specific data was given to the first group, while the other was just given estimations. Results showed that the group with specific data was too quick to make a decision without taking time to study the real situation, while the other participants on the other group chose to defer their decisions until they have the right amount of data.
The research underscores a sobering message, that we are all fascinated with filling information gaps and that obsession can lead one astray. Today, reducing uncertainty has become all too easy, everything is literally at the fingertip, smartphones have somehow become part of the human’s anatomy. Trivial information is now easily accessible; there is always one more report, one more analysis, and one more perspective that’s is just a click or two away.
In reference to the above, we understand that this technology may have the potential to radically change not just the human capital landscape but as well as our lives. Globalisation is resulting the growing demand for validated human capital data for SME and SMI to recruit the most able persons in their fields, irrespective of where they are based, these international project teams can bring great benefits to customers. Today workforce mobility and the possibility to bring international talent to all corners of the world make this and other ISO standards for job competencies and training even more relevant. We have no choice but to be a knowledge-driven society that appreciates data. Without it, we would be powerless to decide what is best for us and may lag behind others. It is in my humble opinion that we need not look further, because the best data provider may come from the man on the street. If there is sufficient data on the database, trends will become clearer and helped identify a trend.
Opined by Dr. Juliana Lim ( CEO of IPEC BUREAU )
IPEC BUREAU is a fully accredited ISO/IEC 17024 Certification Bureau by Standards Malaysia that focuses on extensive ranges of industry human capital certification. In support of ASEAN free movement of certified skilled workers agenda, IPEC certification is globally accepted benchmark for human resources enhancement, upskilling and reskilling that focuses on examining competence of persons.