The role of data in customer experience, digital optimisation and driving growth is expanding in mid to large Australian businesses.

The government recently acknowledged this via a $162 million investment in the Data Integration Partnership, which will deliver data driven insights to guide commonwealth programs and policies in Australia.

However, it is critical to recognise that data is not objective; it requires analysis and interpretation to generate meaningful insights. The challenge is making this subjective interpretation of data as objective as possible.

March GDP

Let’s take the March GDP figures as a case in point. Seasonally adjusted GDP growth in the March 2017 quarter was 0.3%, marginally ahead of contractionary territory. You could interpret this result in many different ways – and indeed, people did.

On the one hand, you could make a case for Australia’s resilience. An economy that records 103 quarters without a recession (not consecutive quarters of growth), is surely a resilient one – that’s no mean feat. Further to this, you could acknowledge two periods of rebounding growth, and contrast this with the shock decline in seasonally adjusted GDP of 0.5% in September 2016.