This year The Economist declared that “[t]he world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.” That statement might have seemed like hyperbole even five years ago, it’s increasingly obvious that he, or she, who has the most data will, in the end, win, no matter what the endeavor.  From healthcare providers looking to deliver better patient care to state and local governments driving Smart Cities initiatives, there are an abundance of use cases showing that a data-centric approach to decision making delivers a competitive advantage.

While the advantages of a data-centric approach to decision making are clear in civilian life, does this same advantage apply to the military? Will the abundance of data available to military leaders change the way they fight wars and win battles?

Dr. Greg Gardner’s answer is a resounding yes.  The retired U.S. Army Colonel, Infantry, who is now NetApp’s Chief Architect, Defense and Intel Solutions, shared his insights on this topic in a recent article for CIO Applications.  For Dr. Gardner, strategic advantage in ensuring national security will be derived from the ability to not just acquire data about adversaries, but to put that data to work.  Citing U.S. Air Force Wing Commander, Colonel Jason Brown, Gardner shared in his piece that “…the intelligence community must transform data into a structured story to serve as the foundation for its intelligence assessments.”  While the nation’s warfighters will need to use data to “increasing learning system sophistication [for manned and unmanned aircraft] to outsmart the enemy.”

However, Gardner sees a significant obstacle for the defense and Intel communities as they look to evolve a data-centric approach to warfighting and intelligence collection.  In the article he notes that to make this change “[military] and intelligence departments must transition from a computer-centric to data-centric view to fight effectively.”

Building a data-centric organization might not be an easy task, particularly considering the amount of data, the coordination of storage locations, and the validation of accuracy all within the context of organizations that are already short on time, skills, and budget. However, Dr. Gardner offers guidance for military and Intel leaders on how to build an effective data management protocol to deliver the results warfighting organizations need based on three tenets – protection, simplicity, and openness.

Just how will these three principles deliver combat success both now and in the future? To find out hop over to CIO Applications.