Cloud Expo Authors: Michelle Drolet, Kevin Benedict, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Paige Leidig

Related Topics: Big Data Journal, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Cloud Expo, Apache, SDN Journal

Big Data Journal: Article

Metrics & Big Data: How to Measure the Value of Big Data for Your Business

Making Big Data your ally and asset

With the herald of innovative, personal, smart and targeted marketing, ‘big data’ offers enticing and varied advantages for businesses.

The ability uncover and harness data, to tackle and tame the informational chaos presented, is increasingly expected of most organisations. But how do you know how useful and profitable data will be for your business uniquely? From improving customer retention to increasing revenue, opportunities are substantial but big data can be dangerous if gathered mindlessly. To gain value, focus must always remain on predefined data goals – proven profitable uses, which are organised using a monetisation strategy.

Making Big Data your ally and asset
To access and assess the value locked within your data, there are certain strategic steps which must be in place. This ensures the data you act on is relevant, ensures marketers can identify the specific monetisable data they need (usually about 5% of information), proves that your data programme is tested and stable (which secures financial certainty and backing), and above all, certifies that your data plan adheres consistently to your unique business goals.

To implement a profitable big data strategy and to assess it’s value for your business, there are five strategic steps which should be taken:

1.   Take a consumer-centric focus
Why do you want to introduce a data strategy? Of course to increase value and revenue, but think further than that. To be successful, a business must cater to its clientele, and consistently aim to deliver consumer value and resolve consumer issues. Your strategy should improve the consumer experience in some way most likely leveraging a multifaceted, deeply-informed view of your consumers.

  • Establish the consumer-related issues you wish to solve via big data, such as enhancing your consumer view to create more targeted marketing across all channels.
  • Once you have outlined your data objectives, ensure they are consistent with your overall business objectives.
  • Choose where to begin. Prioritise by identifying potential issues and opportunities, then sketch out approximate project costs.

2.   Audit the data you already have
An informed, profitable strategy makes the most of existing assets – it maximises the revenue of current consumer data. Part of any data audit will involve a degree of database cleansing – data has a short shelf life. ‘Dirty’ datasets, containing out of date information must be updated to be of value. A data audit will outline your project’s starting point, by establishing the information you have, and the information you need.

  • Begin by creating an information profile – of the data sources you have, and that you can readily (and legally) access. Then you can aim to fill the gaps.
  • · An audit will establish and ask: What data is currently generated? Is it captured anywhere or curated at all? Do you have ready access to it, and permission to use it? Does any documentation exist about the data’s structure and content? Is the data structured, semi-structured or unstructured? Can it be joined to any other customer data sources? Can you get a snapshot of this data picture to use in a proof of concept?

3.   Build from the ground up
Once you’ve outlined your foundation, you can build a structural plan – plan A. This will prepare your business by visualising an actionable data solution to test, and if valuable, invest in.

To be of value, data solutions must be able to: Quickly absorb and utilise new data sources, automatically accommodate the volume, velocity and variety of big data, be able to analyse raw data and decipher its uses, be able to locate and remove useless or junk data, and ensure data can be made actionable efficiently while complying with privacy legislations.

4.   Test your solution
Integral to establishing the value of your big data solution for your business, testing secures trust, and proof of ROI.

Tests should:

  • Search for predictive data patterns and processes, and aim to relate these to likely real life situations and scenarios.
  • Provide a set of deliverables: a collection of evidence, which will support your business case and outlined project objectives. A solid understanding of available resources must be shown alongside the procedures necessary to utilise them.
  • Deliverables must also showcase and demonstrate ROI to secure complete business trust and financial faith.
  • · Where needed, adapt your plan to create a final, practical data strategy.

5.   Retain an adaptive perspective.
So, you have your proof of concept – your tested and proven approaches, and have a plan to build upon, and operationalise them. But simultaneously, you need to be able to identify and test new approaches as they occur – you must be adaptable.

To stay adaptive, a balanced perspective between your main focus, and new peripheral approaches must be achieved. Successful data strategies manage current signals while simultaneously evolving – unearthing and acting upon new signals to retain long term value. As well as technical and process implications, there are also talent and organisational implications, such as creating a structure that can manage ‘business as usual’ and have that working seamlessly with a team focused on finding the next ‘potential’ data and ideas. And, of course, structures need staffing with talent that’s increasingly in demand and hard to find. Ignore talent at your peril.

Remember, being able to locate and utilise the data that is of value to your business is just the first step. Partner this with a data monetistion strategy, and your data will be worth more to your organisation than you thought possible.

About The Author

This article was written by Jed Mole, European Marketing Director at Acxiom a data analytics and software-as-a-service company.

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Are you interested in accelerating innovation, simplifying deployments, reducing complexity, and lowering development costs? The cloud is changing the face of application development and deployment, with enterprise-grade infrastructure and platform services making it possible for you to build and rapidly scale enterprise applications. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Gene Eun, Sr. Director, Oracle Cloud at Oracle, will discuss the latest solutions and strategies for application developers and enterprise IT organizations to leverage Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) to build and deploy modern business applications in the cloud.
Hybrid cloud refers to the federation of a public and private cloud environment for the purpose of extending the elastic and flexibility of compute, storage and network capabilities, in an on-demand, pay-as-you go basis. The hybrid approach allows a business to take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness that a public cloud computing environment offers without exposing mission-critical applications and data to third-party vulnerabilities. Hybrid cloud environments involve complex management challenges. First, organizations struggle to maintain control over the resources that lie outside of their managed IT scope. They also need greater infrastructure visibility to help reduce maintenance costs and ensure that their company data and resources are properly handled and secured.
As more applications and services move "to the cloud" (public or on-premise), cloud environments are increasingly adopting and building out traditional enterprise features. This in turn is enabling and encouraging cloud adoption from enterprise users. In many ways the definition is blurring as features like continuous operation, geo-distribution or on-demand capacity become the norm. At NuoDB we're involved in both building enterprise software and using enterprise cloud capabilities. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc., will cover experiences from building, deploying and using enterprise services and suggest some ways to approach moving enterprise applications into a cloud model.
Understanding the future of Big Data is crucial in the early stages of decision making around Big Data architectures. In the enterprise, what stands out is the need to integrate Hadoop smoothly into your existing data warehouse architecture, while taking advantage of existing skills and investments. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marty Gubar, Director of Product Management at Oracle, will present a strategy for enabling integrated data management using both Hadoop and relational technologies. In particular, he'll look at how SQL, long the standard for the data warehouse, is increasingly being used on Hadoop. The real prize, though, is Smart SQL processing, seamlessly integrating the data warehouse and Hadoop into a single, Big Data Management System.
The time has come for humanity’s first interstellar trek to Terranuvem, the cloud planet, and Chief Engineer Cyrus Agarwal has been chosen to ready a ship for the voyage. He must make the right architectural choices to transform the ship for the long journey and be prepared for the unknown. He will be tested and overcome challenges during the mission. Join Cyrus and the crew of the Stratus at Oracle VP Rex Wang’s Day 2 Keynote at 14th Cloud Expo for a unique, sci-fi movie experience while learning key success factors for your own journey to cloud.