Dynamite_small There's dynamite, and then there's DY-NO-MITE.

Remember Jimmie “JJ” Walker from the hit series “Good Times” in the 1970s?

That is the kind of dynamite I am talking about — his huge smile and trademark phrase, “DY-NO-MITE” to denote all things great.

That was my reaction to David Stephenson's new book, Data Dynamite: How Liberating Information Will Transform Our World, which should be on every CPA, CFO, CEO and CIO summer reading list. 

David talks about blowing up our old ways of thinking about data. He suggests we dynamite current practices and create a DY-NO-MITE combination of real-time data, data visualization tools, and collaborative anaylsis to produce new group insights. He sums it up this way: “When we do that, we can do things more quickly, integrate more perspectives, and adapt more rapidly than ever before. There has simply never been this kind of power and insight before.”

Isn't this exactly what we need in this “new normal?”

David explains the power of XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) as a foundation for building new tools to help us thrive in this permanent whitewater envorinment. He talks about “data nuggets,” tagging at the transaction level to get the most “gold” out of your data mines.

In the book, he says, “When data is tagged, it becomes more valuable because it has context and meaning, rather than being mere numbers or words. It is this form of data transformed and elevated into information by use of tags.” These data nuggets unleash the power of your data and turn it into information and knowledge for your organization.

We should know. That is exactly what we have done at the MACPA. Using XBRL Global Ledger (XBRG GL) and some guidance from Eric E. Cohen, we have tagged our data at the transaction level and are now producing “drill-down” financials, and seamlessly inputting our financial data into a KPI analysis package, saving us time and greatly speeding up the availability of information for financial analysis by our management team. (See our prior blog post and case study with Altova.) 

The book provides lots of examples from federal and state governments (both U.S. and overseas), businesses, health care, and others. David shows how we can use XBRL, data visualization and the wisdom of the crowd to reduce costs, create efficiencies, and gain much faster and deeper insights to act on information faster than ever. In other words: “DY-NO-MITE!”

I really like David's seven principles for liberating data:

  1. Data should be free.
  2. Data should be available to all who need it.
  3. Data should be shared.
  4. When appropriate, release real-time data for outside use and scrutiny.
  5. Data should flow seamlessly.
  6. Make your organization data-centric.
  7. Don’t violate personal privacy and / or security standards.

I first met David on Twitter. Then, he presented “Gov 2.0” at our Maryland Business and Accounting Expo in 2009. It is great to see this book in print and the shout-outs to many of our XBRL friends and leaders in the movement, including Eric E. Cohen, Neal Hannon, Mike Willis, Diane Mueller and Charlie Hoffman.

Don't miss this DY-NO-MITE opportunity to use new tools to reclaim your data, free it, and unleash the power of your people to find new insights for your business.

Read this book, then make plans to join us at the XBRL US Conference in Nashville from Sept. 26-27, where we will be presenting our case study.

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