This is the name of Dale Lutzs blog (minus the laser scanned of course) and I could not agree more, which is the way it should be. Data is the content and it should be king, or queen. Hardware and software are used to collect, process, manage you name it, data, but most importantly to turn that data into information and ultimately knowledge.
As a follow up to last weeks post on the release of Safe Softwares FME 2011 I wanted to call your attention to Dales comments about the approach they have taken to working with point clouds. Be sure to also take a look at the valuable research that he did to design the product enlightening in a couple of ways.
I vote for thinking about data first and then all of the rest of the required systems.