Connect, analyze and act, but take time to stand and stare, too


As things happen more quickly in today’s superfast and highly connected world, so it follows that we have all become accustomed to doing things much more quickly than ever before.  And it seems the faster we can do things, obtain information and get answers to the questions we ask, the more we want and, perhaps, the more frenetic our lifestyles have become.  Yet I am reminded of the lines from WH Davies’ poem Leisure:

What is this life,
So full of care,
If we have no time,
To stand and stare?

Words that resonate well, but most of us find hard to live up to.  We are so consumed by wanting things done quickly that we are blinded by the need to re-evaluate and take stock of things.


And yet, in the corporate world, companies must act quickly if they are to enjoy continued success.  In today’s age of data, never has the need to connect, analyze and take action on data and insights been so critical.  But it seems that while companies have access to a plethora of data and information sources, many businesses do not afford their employees the ability to interact with them easily.  As a result, a lot of time is consumed by meetings which would perhaps be better spent analyzing and acting.

Indeed, according to research done by, 16 hours are spent in meetings each week by the average UK office worker.  Now, considering that people work on average 40 hours a week, that’s 40% of their time consumed by meetings, and that doesn’t count Webex sessions or conference calls.  Wow.

When I first read this, I wondered what 16 hours were being spent on.  Could it be the case that workers have to meet in order to discuss important items?  Is it to find things out so they can do their jobs?  Because they cannot find things out for themselves?  Are they having to convene in face-to-face meetings or numerous conference calls because they cannot access information they need and use it themselves?

The question then asks itself: what could employees do if they didn’t have to attend so many meetings?  What could be done differently and more economically if people could access information themselves?  If they had access to analytics and insights that let them take action without having to meet with others to discuss?

Perhaps by using solutions that allow employees to connect various bits of data together, analyze it and then act upon it – all by themselves – would free them up to then work more smartly, with more freedom and just then have the chance to live up to WH Davies’ lines – take a step back and enjoy some downtime.

There are certainly solutions out there that help with this – Actian’s solutions being just one example.  Take a look at our Data Cloud platform for invisible integration and our ParAccel Big Data Analytics platform for unconstrained analytics.

Perhaps if we could do more ourselves, we wouldn’t be as impatient as we have all become.  Or perhaps the opposite is true.  Either way, you decide.

About Sean Jackson

Sean Jackson is the marketing director for EMEA and APAC at Actian. Sean has an insatiable appetite to travel, ski, improve his photography skills, write, become a master of Adobe Creative Suite, play the piano, speak a variety of languages, and discover more about the world of big data analytics and Hadoop.

View all posts by Sean Jackson →

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