Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Optimization Edge - Using Big Data Analytics

A google search on Big Data, these days, will return an insurmountable amount of content, possibly too much to consume. There are many valuable treatments on demonstrating the value of Big Data technologies and solutions. And I remain a student trying to pick up as much as my few gray cells would accommodate! :-)

In this post I wanted to highlight a paradigm shift which I have been noticing and which I wanted to share.

The traditional approach on analytics has been primarily based on building applications to automate business processes. The information generated from these applications, across the enterprise are consolidated in data warehouses for historical analysis of specific domains and business subject areas. Such analytical efforts have been leveraged over time and have enabled companies to macro optimize parts of their enterprise operations. Production planning, capital investments, marketing strategy and budgeting are some examples of organizational strategies which take advantage of analytics - all this helps in delivering macro optimization to the enterprise operations.

The approach that underpins the traditional macro optimization is still rooted in a human expertise and intuition driven mode of business operations. I believe that the competitive advantage holy grail lies in the mindset, ability and strategy to breakaway from the traditional approaches towards macro optimization which is system enabled, human driven in nature to one from which the next generation efficiencies may be achieved by providing precise, contextual analytics at the point of business impact, thereby adopting a more predict and act modus operandi.

Ability to provide and inject analytics at the point of business impact enables a more real-time, fact driven mode of business operations, which attempts to continuously develop the 'Next Best Action' which minimizes risk and maximizes opportunity. This paradigm assumes that such analytics is performed on the data much closer to the space and time where it is generated as opposed to the traditional method of provisioning the data first before executing any analytics on the data set. This is a paradigm shift from the traditional approach and attempts to provide micro optimization of the enterprise business operations. The "micro" qualifier in this case is more attributed to the latency between data generated and its transformation to insightful information and also to the smaller scales in which optimization can affect the business i.e. it need not always be scales as big as capital investment, marketing strategy for the next one year, etc.

With Big Data tools, techniques, technologies and solutions, we cannot but relate its potential with the "Art of the Possible". Let me leave you with a few scenarios.
Imagine if ...:

  • We could predict the onset of fatal diseases on premature babies, much before they get hit with them and save their lives!
  • Leverage social information to identify customer churn and take immediate remedial action!
  • Offer and send discount coupons to a customer and display them on her car dashboard screen or her smart phone, when she drives by an area where a shop exists!
  • Imagine if you detect the imminent failure of a costly machine part much ahead of the next scheduled maintenance window and proactively fix or repair the same thereby saving costly production downtime!

Yes, I started by saying "Imagine If ...". But let me tell you that current day technologies, tools and capabilities are shrinking the time warp and making this futuristic "Art of the Possible", real today, right here, right now!

To summarize, Big Data technologies and solutions enable analytics to assist in business transformation through iterative micro optimization of the enterprise value chain. And this is made possible by developing and providing a platform for fact-driven, real time and an optimized decision systems.

P.S.: The above imaginations are all implemented today as real-time solutions and are enabling our connected enterprise micro optimized at every opportunity possible.

Decision Management Systems By Taylor, James (Google Affiliate Ad)

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