The quantity of information in the world is soaring. Merely keeping up with, and storing new information is difficult enough. Analyzing it, to spot patterns and extract useful information, is harder still. Even so, this data deluge has great potential for good—as long as consumers, companies, and governments make the right choices about when to restrict the flow of data, and when to encourage it. Find out more.
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other, such as finance, human resources or customer management. Now the systems are being linked, and companies are using data-mining techniques to get a complete picture of their operations— a single version of the truth , as the industry likes to call it. That allows firms to operate more efficiently, pick out trends and improve their forecasting. Consider Cablecom, a Swiss telecoms operator. It has reduced customer defections from one-fifth of subscribers a year to under 5% by crunching its numbers.