Welcome!

Java Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Jason Bloomberg, Trevor Parsons

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Java, PowerBuilder, .NET, Cloud Expo, Apache

SOA & WOA: 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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...