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Public Sector Big Data: Five Ways Big Data Must Evolve in 2013
2012 will go down as a “Big” year for Big Data in the public sector

By

Editor’s note: This guest post provides context on mission focused data analytics in the federal space by one of the leaders of the federal big data movement, Ray Muslimani. -bg

2012 will go down as a “Big” year for Big Data in the public sector. Rhetoric and hype has been followed by tangible action on the part of both government and industry. The $200 million Big Data initiative unveiled by the White House in March 2012 was an injection of R&D and credibility towards efforts to develop tools and technologies to help solve the nation’s most pressing challenges.

On the industry side, the recently issued TechAmerica report, “Demystifying Big Data,” provides agencies with a roadmap for using Big Data to better serve citizens. It also offers a set of policy recommendations and practical steps agencies can take to get started with Big Data initiatives.

For all of the enthusiasm around Big Data this year, every indication is that 2013 will be the year when Big Data transforms the business of government. Below are 5 steps that need to be taken in order for Big Data to evolve in 2013 and deliver on its promise.

Demystify Big Data
Government agencies warmed to the potential of Big Data throughout 2012, but more education is required to help decision makers wade through their options and how further investments can be justified. Removing the ambiguitiessurrounding Big Data requires an emphasis in 2013 on education from both industry and government.

The TechAmerica Big Data report is a good example of how industry can play an active role in guiding agencies through Big Data initiatives. It also underscores that vendors can’t generate more Big Data RFPs through marketing slicks and sales tactics alone. This approach will not demystify Big Data – it will simply seed further doubt if providers of Big Data tools and solutions focus only on poking holes in competitor alternatives.

Industry and government should follow proven templates for education in 2013. For example, agencies can arrange “Big Data Days” in a similar format as Industry Tech Days occur today. Big Data industry days can help IT providers gain better insight into how each Agency plans to approach their Big Data challenges in 2013 and offer these agencies an opportunity to see a wide range of Big Data services.

The Big Data education process must also extend to contracting officers. Agencies need guidance on how RFPs can be constructed to address a service-based model.

Consumerize Big Data
While those within the public sector with the proper training and skills to analyze data have benefited from advanced Big Data tools, it has been far more difficult for everyday business users and decision makers to access the data in a useful way. Sluggish data query responses, data quality issues, and a clunky user experience is undermining the benefits Big Data Analytics can deliver and requiring users to be de facto “data scientists” to make sense of it all.

Supporting this challenge is a 2012 MeriTalk survey, “The Big Data Gap,” that finds just 60 percent of IT professionals indicate their agency is analyzing the data it collects and a modest 40 percent are using data to make strategic decisions. All of this despite the fact that 96 percent of those surveyed expects their agency’s stored data to grow in the next two years by an average of 64 percent.  The gap here suggests a struggle for non “data scientists” to convert data into business decisions. 

What if any government user could ask a question in natural language and receive the answer in a relevant visualization?  For Big Data to evolve in 2013 we must consumerize the user experience by removing spreadsheets and reports, and place the power of analytics in the hands of users of any level without analytics expertise.

Mobilize Big Data
IDC Government Insights predicts that in 2013, 35 percent of new Federal and state applications will be mobile. At the same time, 65 percent of Federal IT executives expect mobile device use to increase by 20 percent in 2013, according to The 2012-2013 Telework/Mobile IT Almanac.

Part of consumerizing Big Data means building it for any device so that users do not need to be tethered to their desktops to analyze data. Agency decision makers must be empowered to easily view and analyze data on tablets and smartphones, while the increase of teleworking in the public sector requires Big Data to be accessible from anywhere, at any time, and on any device.

There is promising innovation at work by both established Federal IT providers and upstarts in taking a mobile-first path to Big Data, rather than the traditional approach of building BI dashboards for the desktop. The degree to which 2013 sees a shift in Big Data from the desktop to tablets and smartphones will depend on how forcefully solutions providers employ a mobile-first approach to Big Data.

Act on Big Data
A tremendous amount of “thought” energy went into Big Data in 2012. For Big Data to evolve in a meaningful way in 2013, initiatives and studies must generate more action in the form of Big Data RFIs and RFPs.

Within the tight budget climate, agencies will not act on Big Data if vendor proposals require massive investments in IT infrastructure and staffing. There must be a shift –to the extent possible – of the financial and resource burden from agency to vendor. For example, some vendors have developed “Big Data Clouds” that allow agencies to leverage a secure, scalable framework for storing and managing data, along with a toolset for performing consumer-grade search and analysis on that data.

Open Big Data
Adoption of Big Data solutions has been accelerated by open source tools such as Hadoop, MapReduce, Hive, and HBase. While some agencies will find it tempting to withdraw to the comfort of proprietary Big Data tools that they can control in closed systems, that path undermines the value Big Data can ultimately deliver.

One could argue that as open source goes in 2013, Big Data goes as well. If open source platforms and tools continue to address agency demands for security, scalability, and flexibility, benefits within from Big Data within and across agencies will increase exponentially. There are hundreds of thousands of viable open source technologies on the market today. Not all are suitable for agency requirements, but as agencies update and expand their uses of data, these tools offer limitless opportunities to innovate. Additionally, opting for open source instead of proprietary vendor solutions prevents an agency from being locked into a single vendor’s tool that it may at some point outgrow or find ill suited for their needs.

Read the original blog entry...

About 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.

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Cloud Expo - Cloud Looms Large on SYS-CON.TV


Cloud Expo 2013 East Opening Keynote by IBM
In this Cloud Expo Keynote, Danny Sabbah, CTO & General Manager, Next Generation Platform, will detail the critical architectural considerations and success factors organizations must internalize to successfully implement, optimize and innovate using next generation architectures.
Lisa Larson, Vice President of Enterprise Cloud Solutions of Rackspace Hosting Live From New York City
In the old world of IT, if you didn't have hardware capacity or the budget to buy more, your project was dead in the water. Budget constraints can leave some of the best, most creative and most ingenious innovations on the cutting room floor. It's a true dilemma for developers and innovators – why spend the time creating, when a project could be abandoned in a blink? That was the old world. In the new world of IT, developers rule. They have access to resources they can spin up instantly. A hybrid cloud ignites innovation and empowers developers to focus on what they need. A hybrid cloud blends the best of all worlds, public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers to fit the needs of developers and offer the ideal environment for each app and workload without the constraints of a one-size-fits-all cloud.

Keynote: Driving Cloud Innovation: SSDs Change Cloud Storage Paradigm
Cloud is a transformational shift in computing that can have a powerful effect on enterprise IT when designed correctly and used to its full potential. Join Citrix in a discussion that centers on building, connecting and empowering users with cloud services and hear examples of how enterprises are solving real-world business challenges with an architecture and solution purpose-built for the cloud.

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Many organizations want to expand upon the IaaS foundation to deliver cloud services in all forms—software, mobility, infrastructure and IT. Understanding the strategy, planning process and tools for this transformation will help catalyze changes in the way the business operates and deliver real value. Join us to learn about the new ITaaS model and how to begin the transformation.


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There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Get a jump on that rapidly evolving trend at Big Data Expo, which we are introducing in June at
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@CloudExpo Blogs
There’s a lot of discussion around managing outages in production via the likes of DevOps principles and the corresponding software development lifecycles that does enable higher quality output from development, however, one cannot lay all blame for “bugs” and failures at the feet of those responsible for coding and development. As developers incorporate features and benefits of these paradigm shift, there is a learning curve and a point of not-knowing-what-is-not-known. Sometimes, the only way to learn is to actually put code into production and monitor its performance and actions.
Right off the bat, Newman advises that we should "think of microservices as a specific approach for SOA in the same way that XP or Scrum are specific approaches for Agile Software development". These analogies are very interesting because my expectation was that microservices is a pattern. So I might infer that microservices is a set of process techniques as opposed to an architectural approach. Yet in the book, Newman clearly includes some elements of concept model and architecture as well as process and organization.
How can you compare one technology or tool to its competitors? Usually, there is no objective comparison available. So how do you know which is better? Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA? Java EE or Spring? C# or Java? All you can usually find is a holy war and biased comparisons on vendor sites. But luckily, sometimes, you can find a fair comparison. How does this come to be? By having it co-authored by the stakeholders. The binary repository comparison matrix is one of those rare resources. It is edited by JFrog, Sonatype and Archiva committers to provide you with an objective picture; every vendor a...
There’s a story that needs to be written, in fact it’s not a story it’s a piece of technical analysis. We need to know why Big Data connectivity is not as simple as connecting Lego building blocks. Vendors in the ‘cloud ERP financials’ space are fond of using terms like multi-channel to talk about the need to bring together previously disconnected elements of data (including Big Data) for the new way we are supposed to work with technology..
In “Thinking Like a Data Scientist – Part I”, we examined the challenges for getting the business users to think like data scientists when contemplating where and how to leverage big data to drive business value. We introduced a “Thinking Like a Data Scientist” process that starts with identifying and understanding the organization’s top-level strategic business initiatives, then uses a “Strategic Nouns” technique to create potential business questions that were descriptive, predictive or in nature.
One reason a lot of entrepreneurs flock to cloud-based services for their business is the cost. Native applications require licenses that are either too expensive or require elaborate set-up across all devices. In a recent article on the Entrepreneur, Bask Iyer, the CIO and Senior Vice President of Technology at Juniper Networks responded to the question, 'what entrepreneurs should put in the cloud?' His answer: "Everything." Bask elaborates by pointing out the ability of cloud to scale-up and scale-down at ease, the ease with which you can deploy plug-and-play cloud solutions for almost ever...
It was recently revealed that Linux-powered drones were released which has unveiled a new frontier for open source software. Drone control, once limited to proprietary software, has now entered the open source realm. This opens up new possibilities of more flexible platforms for many Internet-connected objects as well as sparking conversation among the open source community about its potential relationship with the Internet of Things (IoT). Open source software has allowed drone builders and programmers to create a platform using a free open source software development kit. In some cases, i...
With the advent (or surge in popularity) of cloud computing, our use of the so-called ‘computer operating system’ is coming into question. Given that the cloud exists on the back end to drive power to our ‘endpoint’ devices (in whatever form they may be) today, the way those devices handle the user experience comes down to the user interface almost as much as it does the operating system, or so the argument goes.
The launch of the Shopify IPO on the NYSE is a leap forward and a testimony tothe high quality of the Canadian technology sector. In its first trading day, Shopify was oversubscribed by 51% As a solution-focused company, for us it’s a day of pride and tribulations to see a fellow technology company launching a successful IPO on one of the world’s greatest trading desks, Shopify, that started with humble beginnings, is one of the latest IPO’s to hit the market that is both tech, and Canadian. As a Canadian company Shopifys IPO success is a testimony to Canada being a breeding ground for world-...
I read an insightful article this morning from Bernard Golden on DZone discussing the DevOps conundrum facing many enterprises today – is it better to build your own DevOps tools or go commercial? For Golden, the question arose from his observations at a number of DevOps Days events he has attended, where typically the audience is composed of startup professionals: “I have to say, though, that a typical feature of most presentations is a recitation of the various open source products and components and how they integrated them to implement their solution. In a word, how they created their ho...
Providing the needed data for application development and testing is a huge headache for most organizations. The problems are often the same across companies – speed, quality, cost, and control. Provisioning data can take days or weeks, every time a refresh is required. Using dummy data leads to quality problems. Creating physical copies of large data sets and sending them to distributed teams of developers eats up expensive storage and bandwidth resources. And, all of these copies proliferating the organization can lead to inconsistent masking and exposure of sensitive data.
The Internet of Things is already changing the way we track fitness, manage our homes, and drive our cars. But while there is considerable discussion around how we securely provision our devices and who will have access to the data they capture, an important topic no one seems to be talking much about is the de-provisioning of smart objects. What happens when I ditch my Fitbit, trade in my connected car, or sell my house with its Nest thermostat, smart fridge and next-generation home security system? How do I manage to remove these smart devices from my life and make sure that no one has acces...
This is the final installment of the six-part series Microservices and PaaS. It seems like forever since I attended Adrian Cockroft's meetup focusing on microservices. It's actually only been a couple of months, but much has happened since then: countless articles, meetups, and conference sessions focusing on microservices have been delivered, many meetings and design efforts at companies moving towards a microservices-based approach have been endured, and five installments of this blog series have been written. There's no doubt that microservices, like containerization and DevOps, is a tren...
There is no question that the cloud is where businesses want to host data. Until recently hypervisor virtualization was the most widely used method in cloud computing. Recently virtual containers have been gaining in popularity, and for good reason. In the debate between virtual machines and containers, the latter have been seen as the new kid on the block – and like other emerging technology have had some initial shortcomings. However, the container space has evolved drastically since coming onto the cloud hosting scene over 10 years ago. So, what has changed? In his session at 16th Cloud E...
Virtualization is everywhere. Enormous and highly profitable companies have been built on nothing but virtualization. And nowhere has virtualization made more of an impact than in Cloud Computing, the rampant and unprecedented adoption of which has been the direct result of the wide availability of virtualization software and techniques that enabled it. But does the cloud actually require virtualization?
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Past SYS-CON Events
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2011west.sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo East
cloudcexpo
2011east.sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2010west.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo West
virtualization
2010west.sys-con.com
    Cloud Expo Europe
cloudexpoeurope2010.
sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo East
cloudcomputingexpo
2010east.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo East
virtualizationconference
2010east.sys-con.com
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2009west.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo West
virtualizationconference
2009west.sys-con.com
    GovIT Expo
govitexpo.com
 
    Cloud Expo Europe
cloudexpoeurope2009.sys-con.com
 

Cloud Expo 2011 Allstar Conference Faculty

S.F.S.
Dell

Singer
NRO

Pereyra
Oracle

Ryan
OpSource

Butte
PwC

Leone
Oracle

Riley
AWS

Varia
AWS

Lye
Oracle

O'Connor
AppZero

Crandell
RightScale

Nucci
Dell Boomi

Hillier
CiRBA

Morrison
Layer 7 Tech

Robbins
NYT

Schwarz
Oracle

What The Enterprise IT World Says About Cloud Expo
 
"We had extremely positive feedback from both customers and prospects that attended the show and saw live demos of NaviSite's enterprise cloud based services."
  –William Toll
Sr. Director, Marketing & Strategic Alliances
Navisite
 


 
"More and better leads than ever expected! I have 4-6 follow ups personally."
  –Richard Wellner
Chief Scientist
Univa UD
 


 
"Good crowd, good questions. The event looked very successful."
  –Simon Crosby
CTO
Citrix Systems
 


 
"It's the largest cloud computing conference I've ever seen."
  –David Linthicum
CTO
Brick Group