Bust myths to gain insights and make data work for you

Vice President of Growth, IBM Analytics, IBM

Everyone needs actionable insights from data. Data is the new natural resource, and those who can harness this ubiquitous resource will be leaders. But does everyone have access to high quality data at their command?  

Let’s begin with reality. The world is becoming more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent, from intensive care units (ICU), to traffic sensors, to running shoes and more. We have begun to see how organizations use data from this increasingly digitized world to help drive efficiency, improve customer satisfaction and attain higher profits. Data-driven insight and action are changing how we do business and how we live. However, I hear many misconceptions about how to get the job done, how to make data work for an organization.

Let me pose this question to you. Are any of these myths keeping you from realizing the potential of big data?

  • Myth # 1: New technologies will replace everything we know.
  • Myth # 2: Universal access to data! Not in my lifetime.
  • Myth # 3: Even If I could get real-time insights, I couldn’t use them.

At Insight, our annual big data conference just held on the 26 through 30 of October, we talked about how IBM busts these myths. In this post, I’d like to share the highlights from my perspective. 

Myth # 1: New technologies will replace everything we know

harriet insight blog.jpgSome might think that to take advantage of big data, current technology investments will be made obsolete. However, modernization often leverages existing technologies.

Let’s start with data warehousing that has seen the introduction of the data warehouse appliance to simplify delivery of data warehouse services. Today, our clients can take this modernization one step further with IBM PureData System for Analytics N3001. This superfast and simple appliance is now more secure and has a price point for the mid-size market. Better yet, it is “business intelligence ready” so clients can build out ecosystems for reporting and analytics.

Others believe that different workloads need different, dedicated systems to achieve their respective performance and storage goals. With the latest release of IBM DB2 10.5 (Cancun), clients can take advantage of the breakthrough speed of in-memory performance for instant reporting and operational analytics directly in their transaction processing environment with no impact to the OLTP workload.

And then there is the rise in use of Hadoop to land multi-terabytes of all sorts of data. Many fear Hadoop is not ready for prime time or will make existing skills obsolete. With IBM InfoSphere BigInsights, clients gain enterprise-class features. IBM Big SQL enables SQL queries to run directly against data within Hadoop so your current SQL knowledge and expertise can give you a head start in the world of big data.

The cloud is also helping to modernize the data warehouse.  The cloud helps enable self-service data warehousing and allows clients to provision a data warehouse in hours—not weeks or days. Point, click and clients are on their way to answers. IBM dashDB, a fully managed data warehousing service in the cloud, leverages advanced in-memory technology with powerful in-database processing so clients get answers as fast as they can think of questions. IBM dashDB can be used as an extension of a current warehouse or as a way to quickly add new analytic services for organizations. 

And speaking of cloud expanding the use of data, many organizations look to exploit database-as-a-service (DBaaS) noSQL solutions to enable agile development and ease of deployment for web and mobile applications. Clients can take advantage of Cloudant DBaaS for high availability, scalability and better yet, it’s all fully managed. Cloudant Local, an on-premises edition of Cloudant, offers clients the flexibility of a fluid hybrid cloud to deliverer data to devices non-stop, wherever and whenever it is needed. 

All-in-all, I think we can agree that gone are the days when there is only one type of data store in your business. New technologies are here to help you innovate and improve your existing data architecture so you can pick a modernization strategy that makes sense for your business goals.

Myth # 2: Universal access to data! Not in my lifetime

Good data can be hard to find and that’s why organizations need to refine it. IBM DataWorks is a data refinery designed to transform raw data into relevant information and make it widely available to business users and application developers alike.

    harriet blog post 2.jpg

    The data refinery ingests raw data and automatically determines the level of refinement needed. Next, it cleans and secures data to the right level and enables human-aided curation to improve data where necessary. This data refinery makes its home on the cloud to be close to cloud-based applications that consume data and to provide low cost and flexibility.

    The refinery is about enabling everyone with data. 

    • Business users can find, use and contribute data for analysis
    • application developers can embed data services into new applications and
    • IT and data professionals can enable self-service data access and instill confidence to act on the data

    Let’s face it, just like clean water flows from a faucet, clean data needs to flow to everyone in your organization that needs it—and now it can.

    Myth # 3: Even if I could get real-time insights, I couldn’t use them

    As data flows around an organization, there is an opportunity to gain insight and act on it. Many organizations feel it is too hard to capture the data, store it and analyze it—let alone act on it. Yet many organizations have already busted this myth.

    For example, Joy Global, a leading provider of mining equipment and services, is harnessing streaming data coming from industrial equipment, cameras, navigational gyroscopes, water pumps and ventilation devices to detect problems and send real-time alerts.   The alerts include service recommendations delivered to field technicians on their iPads. 

    Using InfoSphere Streams, Joy Global is able to analyze and correlate thousands of data points per second. Now they are able to prevent costly service interruptions, ensure mines are operating at peak performance and move workers out of harm’s way. IBM helps Joy Global provide a scalable answer to optimize a global network of mining equipment and deliver 24x7 support, preventive maintenance and operational improvements. The result? Joy Global’s smarter services help mining companies save millions.

    InfoSphere Streams turns this myth on its head. Streams can deliver continuous, real-time analytics such as machine learning and geospatial analytics on fast moving data types such as those used by Joy Global and more including social data, video data and acoustic data. InfoSphere Streams is designed for speed analyzing millions of events per second and helps organizations capture more data in real-time, bring context to each data point and build out real-time analytics. 

    Now you can apply insights as data flows through your organization—taking action on data right when and where you need to.

    It’s no myth—data is everywhere, and useful to everyone

    IBM has a new generation of cloud-born data services and innovations across our entire portfolio to help you put data to work. IBM solutions are designed to fuel applications with more data faster and make data work for you in your company. 
    I encourage you to visit InsightGo to learn more from the replay of our Information Management Keynote, as well as listen in to other news from the General Sessions at Insight 2014.