Grown up Big Data supports operational technology

In his summary for a report out last week, Gartner’s Doug Laney confirmed what some have been saying about making Big Data a part of more than simply research:

Interlacing operational technology and “big data” initiatives can generate lucrative supplemental benefits. Information strategists should plan to use OT-generated data to bolster analytics and exploit big data sources to enhance the performance of OT solutions.

Big data and operationsBig Data’s maturity model involves moving past the research project, beyond the ‘amazing insights’ and well beyond batch processing. If Big Data can’t be used to make a difference at the time’s that matter, when business is underway and access to real-time analytics matters most, it won’t earn the seat at the ‘Big Value’ table that has been predicted for years.

Making Big Data operational

To know what Laney says, you’ll need to read his report, but know that operational systems are those that Wikipedia describes as, “…systems that process the data-to-day transactions of an organization.” These systems are the the backbone of what make business work and were the first to be digitized. This, however, is a very limited view of data, big or small. Beyond transactions, there is a host of data that also supports business but isn’t transactional. Often called ‘events’ (like weather, maintenance, etc.), this data sits in places that are growing far more rapidly than transactional systems.

With the arrival of the Internet of Things, tens of millions of new sensors will be added to the existing Web. The world of operational data is about to explode into Big Data proportions. This sensor data will be much faster than transactional data and will require Big Data analytics to be applied directly in the flow of business management.

We’re not ready for operational big data

IT departments the world over aren’t ready for this change. Struggling to recover from the economic downturn and slashed budgets, the CIO is still barely treading water to integrate applications that were implemented years ago, much less add more data and analytics to the mix. Cloud? Social? Mobile? Making all of that data useful in operations is more than can be managed. Giving business decision-makers an end-to-end view of business is a ways off.

But there’s an alternative. Just to get started, IT departments need to start looking at ways of cataloguing the data the organization produces today (all types). Rather than building slow and expensive enterprise data warehouses as the solution, organizations should push for a full understanding of what’s available to support decisions and create an exceptional ability to integrate that data in real-time.

Putting a focus on integration is an investment that pays off over and over. What’s more, what we call Big Data today will be small data tomorrow. Time to get started.

If you want to learn more about the Big Data ecosystem and how it supports business operations, join us in New York for Interop:

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Categories: Data Analytics / Big Data

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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