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Evolution towards the Data-Driven Enterprise

Data has always been important for many (if not all) companies. Today however it is becoming increasingly easier to collect data about customers, business transactions, devices etc…, . This data enables companies to (more dynamically) optimize their business models and processes and differentiate themelves from their competitors. Before embarking on a (Big) data strategy it is important to understand what is driving this evolution and what are basic Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 10.45.42architecture building blocks to take into account when transforming into a more data driven enterprise.

Several trends are fueling the evolution towards a more data-driven enterprise: Price/performance improvements in network, storage and computing and the rise of Cloud computing , make it more cost effective to deploy large IT infrastructures and capture data. New data management technologies and products such as Hadoop (MapReduce) and NoSQL/NewSQL provide scalable and more cost effective solutions than traditional SQL databases for various classes of problems.  The IT consumerization trend results in departments more actively pursuing analytics capabilities. Another important trend is the Internet of Things (IoT): The advent of cheaper sensors and improved connectivity are bridging the gap between the physical and digital world, enabling collecting data from more devices and environments. This sensorization is unlocking the potential to gather enormous amounts of data and details about almost everything.

These trends are creating new challenges and opportunities to harness and understand the data tsunamis, and leverage the analytics for decision making purposes, to better monitor, control, and understand complex systems from business dashboards to IoT eco-systems. Read More »

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The Fourth V in Big Data

At Cisco Live! Melbourne, I was invited to speak at the Executive Symposium to nearly 100 of Cisco’s top customers in the Australia and New Zealand region.  In my talk, Gaining Insight from the Big Data Avalanche, I covered big data business opportunities and technology challenges.

To level set at the start, I opened with a definition of big data, including the typical velocity, volume, and variety seem to be the three V’s everyone hears when it comes to big data.    But then I challenged the audience to consider the fourth and in fact most important V, holding back on identifying it so the audience could consider what was missing.

Gaining Insight from the Big Data Avalanche from Cisco Data Center

After an appropriate pause, I told them the most important V was value.  Value is the only reason to work on big data.  This value must be seen in better business outcomes such as:

  • Higher Customer Profitability
  • Faster Time to Market
  • Reduced Cost
  • Improved Risk Management
  • Better Compliance
  • Greater Business & IT Agility

It is interesting how people get knocked off guard by the big data buzzwords.  So go back to the basics.  Start by getting your business case in order.  Once the value to the business is understood, juggling higher data velocity, volume and/or variety becomes an engineering problem. Certainly, a new class of engineering problem, requiring new technologies and skills, but it is a fully solvable engineering problem nonetheless.

For IT, big data is as much an organizational change challenge, as a technology challenge.  Practical first steps that seem to work well include:

  • Experiment with a smaller, “SWOT” team on a selected set of projects.  This is a great way to introduce something new.
  • Go for some quick and easy wins, rather than boiling the ocean with large-scale initiatives.  That is a proven technique for gaining momentum.
  • Implement a solution with revenue impact, such a next-best offer analytic to improve upsell performance or a predictive churn analytic that helps reduce customer defection.  These high visibility projects will ease business funding challenges and improve executive visibility / sponsorship.

 

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Our Data, Ourselves

We’re generating digital information at an exponential rate. It’s coming from more devices that are more connected than ever and getting smarter all the time.

  • In 2013, global mobile data traffic stood at 1.5 exabytes per month – the equivalent of 4,100 text messages each second.
  • By 2018, that will reach 15.9 exabytes per month – or 43,709 text messages each second! And 96% of that mobile data traffic will be “smart” traffic!

Welcome to the next wave of the Internet – the Internet of Everything. Imagine the amount of data we’re creating in this evolving digital world as more and more people and things connect. Technologies like cloud and mobility are fueling this growth – with the cloud as key enabler in helping us make sense of this data deluge. Global data center traffic is expected to triple by 2017, and cloud services and applications will make up 69% of that traffic.

Data itself (or simply storing it in the cloud) only gets you so far, however. The value lies in what you do with it, gaining insight and knowledge derived from data to empower your life and lead you to greater wisdom. That’s the real power behind connectivity. On a personal level, it calls for taking ownership of your “digital self,” leveraging cloud-enabled services not just for storage but to “talk” and interact with the digital world in a dynamic way and in real time. This can lead us to understand aspects of ourselves in ways never before possible – and harness actionable data to make better decisions that improve our lives.

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Mobile Marketing & Location Context @ ClickZ New York 2014

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Digital Marketing Executives, trade press and specialist companies gathered in New York this week for the latest ClickZ Live NYCevent.

Location, location, location…!!!

A very clear trend visible here is how location had become a key part of the digital marketing language.

It was part of the Keynote addresses.

  • Facebook’s former Director of Marketing is advocating it.
  • Google are presenting on it and delivering workshops on it.
  • Various booths talk about its importance.
  • Numerous speakers mention it in their presentation.
  • And Cisco are evangelizing how indoor location using WiFi and CMX can really enhance location capabilities and hugely driven additional revenue streams and enable new business models. Read More »

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Analytics at the Edge: Where the Network Becomes the Database

In 1984, John Gage of Sun Microsystems coined the phrase “the network is the computer” as computing functions started to become increasingly distributed across the network. Today, boundaries that once separated individual computers have disappeared and application processing is enabled—and managed—by the network. We are now at the forefront of a new market transition, as eloquently explained by Rick van der Lans in his paper, “The Network Is the Database.”

The network is indeed becoming the database. Big Data and the related approach to database management are moving away from a centralized data warehouse model and literally starting to flow across the network. We are virtualizing data management by leaving data in the network, instead of copying it into a data center. Data stays in motion wherever and whenever it’s needed across the network, instead of being at rest.

What does this mean for business value? A distributed—and virtualized—data management approach solves the three major issues of Big Data: volume, variety, and velocity.

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