According to ZDNet, data insight is on track to become a “key competitive weapon” next year. But there is a disconnect – while 75 per cent of enterprise architects want data to drive business strategy, just 29 per cent say their firms are any good at connecting data and outcomes.
While data-driven investments should continue on pace over the next twelve months, the real story here is the rise of data science and real-time analytics “collapsing” to reduce the time from query to answer and insight to action.
There is pushback, however, from naysayers who see a finite limit to the speed of static relay; what happens when data points are so close in time they become indistinguishable images of IT trouble spots or emerging relationships? If you’re watching closely enough, the birth of something special – moving pictures.
For many companies, it is hard to see the direct link between truly real-time data analysis and the occasional sampling techniques used by typical business-intelligence solutions. After all, if you’re getting a report on data location and integrity every five minutes, isn’t that enough? Why spend on the other 299 seconds?
Consider the example of a carjacking. For criminals to pop the door, start the engine and drive off into the night takes far fewer than five minutes – two or three at best. If you’re in charge of making sure no cars leave the car park but only get a camera feed every five minutes for just a few seconds, you’ve got a problem. The first time your camera comes up, you’ll see the car safe and sound. The next, it’s gone and you have no idea why, how or who was behind the wheel.
By combining data into a continuous, real-time stream you get the benefit of a movie over sets of static images, which may be absent critical information or misleading your analytics pros. And since solid business strategy demands that you go with what you know, missing scenes in your data may produce less-than-optimal investments or ineffective end-user policies.
As noted by the University of Washington, early moving pictures bore little resemblance to the blockbusters now shown every weekend. In the 1890s, for example, movie “shorts” – which lasted just 15-30 seconds – focused almost exclusively on showing movement in real time. Things like trains pulling into stations or people gardening drew huge crowds, with some moviegoers worried that cinematic cabooses were going to leap off-screen and into the front row.
The current landscape of real-time analytics is like these first days of moviemaking. Companies and providers alike re fascinated by the ability to make data move, as it were, even in short bursts and in isolation from larger business context. Just as the motion picture industry evolved, however, so too will the market for IT operations analytics.
Consider a recent TechTarget piece that notes that the quality of data more than the quantity will soon become a driving factor in effective data-based decision making.
In other words, it won’t be enough to provide a motion picture of real-time data from various, potentially disparate data sources; tools will need to intelligently select best-fit end user information to produce the most compelling and accurate data films possible.
Previews are rolling out for the newest tech blockbuster – data in real time, driving continuous insight. There is star power here, but don’t get too comfortable; as the market catches up, look for companies ready to capitalise on a data-driven sequel to first-gen movie magic.
Vincent Bieri is the co-founder of Nexthink, which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, and has worked with the UAE on smart government projects
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