Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Steven Lamb, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Dan Potter

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, PowerBuilder, Microsoft Cloud, @CloudExpo, Apache

Microservices Expo: Article

From Efficiency to Effectiveness: The Role of Data

The excitement about Big Data is really about being able to take advantage of the data in which we are all awash

Efficiency may be the most commonly used term in enterprise software marketing - that or "ensure." And not without reason - efficiency is one of the key value propositions of most enterprise software, from collaboration tools, to productivity tools, to integration tools and beyond. At a certain point though, the gains to be achieved from efficiency become smaller and smaller and of lesser and lesser business significance.

This is resulting in a shift in focus from efficiency to effectiveness. At times, these goals are twin, but in many cases, they are not - the most effective allocation of resources may not be the most efficient - at least in the short-term. Managing an organization with an eye toward effectiveness can be a challenge, because business metrics are often tied to processes and other types of "discrete" pieces of work, and how quickly/efficiently they are completed. As a result, when an organization makes the shift to managing for effectiveness rather than efficiency, the metrics used to evaluate success typically have to be "leveled-up," that is, taken up to the level that really matters to the business. An example of this leveling up occurred several years back when customer service organizations changed their focus from shortening call times to increasing the rate of first call resolution. Resolving a customer issue on the first call may result in increasing the length of the call, but over the long term it is a more effective approach, because it may result in a shorter overall expenditure of the Customer Service Representatives' aggregated time, and will certainly result in more satisfied customers.

Operationalizing this "leveling-up" is not an easy task. Most of the greatest challenges associated with doing so relate to data. First, organizations must have an idea that their current efficiency-based metrics are not serving them well. The only way to know that your current practices are ill-serving you is to capture data to make that point. In the CSR example above, that means being able to find out that a customer has called multiple times. But the way that calls are typically handled, a case is created for each one, meaning that the data doesn't tell a story of a customer calling multiple times and taking the time of many different CSRs; instead, the data tells of ten individual calls, each of which lasted three minutes. The complexity of the problem is actually greater than this, because what happens more often than not in such cases is that a customer will try to resolve the problem by contacting the organization through multiple different channels - phone, Web, email, chat. Because the data is so often fragmented, organizations will typically find out about such broken practices through a series of irate letters and phone calls, or in the worst case scenario, in a drop-off in customers. Whatever the means of notification, at some point it becomes clear to the organization that they not only have a problem of misaligned incentives, but also a data problem. They then turn to the data to understand what has been going on in their organization and how to manage more effectively.

The story likely can be pieced together from the data, but the organization must still make sure they are asking the right questions - if "number of cold calls made" is not the right metric, what is? Once the right questions have been identified, then it's time to turn to the data. Because in most organizations the data to be captured was not set up with these higher-level goals in mind, getting the right answer from the data requires some work. The data across these various systems must be integrated and federated - all of the necessary data must be extracted from the various systems inside and out of the organization and loosely coupled so that the data is telling the whole story. It also requires cleansing the data and rationalizing it such that data about the same thing being captured in different systems is in sync.

It may be that even after having all of the data rationalized and accessible, the crucial data needed to manage the business more effectively is not currently being captured. This is a relatively small problem, with practically everything digitized and virtualized, there is very likely a way to capture the data an organization seeks. A common scenario is that the data is being captured, but in an off-premise cloud-based application or in a partner's application or it may be that the data is embedded in the activities carried out on social networks. In all of these cases, new technology makes the data accessible and manageable. As a result, so, too, are the answers to the real business questions of how to manage the business more effectively.

Data integration tools make it possible to integrate and federate data from cloud-based applications with on-premise systems, to incorporated data from third parties. The ability to use Hadoop MapReduce to take in and manage unprecedented volumes of data from social networks and other non-traditional sources makes it possible to truly have, manage and analyze all of your data. New social MDM technology means that you can tap into the data embedded in social interactions on social networks and use this to create an even more fully fleshed-out golden record for your customers.

In truth, it is the gains we have made in efficiency, in finding ever-more efficient ways to access, store and analyze data that make this turn towards effectiveness possible. Without being able to do all of the above in a time- and cost-efficient manner, it is not possible to use the data to manage more effectively.

In many ways, this is what the hype about Big Data is all about. The unarticulated and implicit excitement about Big Data is really about being able to take advantage of the data in which we are all awash and use it to manage our organizations more effectively than ever before. Managing for effectiveness looks different in every industry. In retail, managing for effectiveness is understanding customers - catering to them when, where, how and with what they want. In pharma, managing for effectiveness is limiting physician wash out, getting more clinical trial data more quickly, and being able to complete or pull the plug on trials faster based on the results of that data. In every industry, managing for effectiveness means using the power of data to make the best business decisions possible, getting a true return on data.

More Stories By Emily Burns

Emily Burns is responsible for Platform Product Marketing at Informatica. In that capacity, she has two principal roles. First, she evangelizes the benefits to be achieved from managing data as a key corporate asset, especially using the Informatica Platform. Second, she works to identify and communicate best practices and methodologies that demonstrate how to manage data as a corporate asset.

Prior to Informatica, Emily worked at Pegasystems and at TIBCO. While at Pegasystems, she led their case management product initiative. At TIBCO she was responsible for product marketing for the BPM suite. Emily holds a BS with majors in biochemistry and music, with an emphasis on piano performance. She is an avid reader, cook, and triathlete. Emily lives in Boston with her husband and two young sons.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Let’s face it, embracing new storage technologies, capabilities and upgrading to new hardware often adds complexity and increases costs. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Seth Oxenhorn, Vice President of Business Development & Alliances at FalconStor, discussed how a truly heterogeneous software-defined storage approach can add value to legacy platforms and heterogeneous environments. The result reduces complexity, significantly lowers cost, and provides IT organizations with improved efficienc...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
"We view the cloud not really as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Sagi Brody, Chief Technology Officer at Webair Internet Development Inc., and Logan Best, Infrastructure & Network Engineer at Webair, focused on real world deployments of DDoS mitigation strategies in every layer of the network. He gave an overview of methods to prevent these attacks and best practices on how to provide protection in complex cloud platforms. He also outlined what we have found in our experience managing and running thousands of Linux and Unix ...
Continuous testing helps bridge the gap between developing quickly and maintaining high quality products. But to implement continuous testing, CTOs must take a strategic approach to building a testing infrastructure and toolset that empowers their team to move fast. Download our guide to laying the groundwork for a scalable continuous testing strategy.
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Yoseph Reuveni, Director of Software Engineering at Jet.com, will discuss Jet.com's journey into containerizing Microsoft-based technologies like C# and F# into Docker. He will talk about lessons learned and challenges faced, the Mono framework tryout and how they deployed everything into Azure cloud. Yoseph Reuveni is a technology leader with unique experience developing and running high throughput (over 1M tps) distributed systems with extre...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Software-defined storage is a big problem in this industry because so many people have different definitions as they see fit to use it," stated Peter McCallum, VP of Datacenter Solutions at FalconStor Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Operations is sort of the maturation of cloud utilization and the move to the cloud," explained Steve Anderson, Product Manager for BMC’s Cloud Lifecycle Management, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The cloud competition for database hosts is fierce. How do you evaluate a cloud provider for your database platform? In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Chris Presley, a Solutions Architect at Pythian, gave users a checklist of considerations when choosing a provider. Chris Presley is a Solutions Architect at Pythian. He loves order – making him a premier Microsoft SQL Server expert. Not only has he programmed and administered SQL Server, but he has also shared his expertise and passion with b...
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
What are the successful IoT innovations from emerging markets? What are the unique challenges and opportunities from these markets? How did the constraints in connectivity among others lead to groundbreaking insights? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Carmen Feliciano, a Principal at AMDG, will answer all these questions and share how you can apply IoT best practices and frameworks from the emerging markets to your own business.