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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 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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Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, will discuss why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices ra...
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Top Stories for Cloud Expo 2012 East

In this Big Data Power Panel at the 10th International Cloud Expo, moderated by Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan, Govind Rangasamy, Director of Product Management at Eucalyptus Systems; Kevin Brown; CEO of Coraid, Inc.; Christos Tryfonas, CTO and Co-Founder of Cetas; and Max Riggsbee, CMO and VP of Products for WhipTail, discussed such topics as: Big Data has existed since the early days of computing; why, then, do you think there is such an industry buzz around it right now? How is Big Data impacting storage and networking architecture in data centers? How about the intersection of Big Data Analytics and Cloud Computing - how big a sector is that and why? What's the difference between Big Data and Fast Data? ... (more)

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It's a simple fact that the better sales reps understand their prospects' intentions, preferences and pain points during calls, the more business they'll close. Each day, as your prospects interact with websites and social media platforms, their behavioral data profile is expanding. It's now possible to gain unprecedented insight into prospects' content preferences, product needs and budget. We hear a lot about how valuable Big Data is to sales and marketing teams. But data itself is only valuable when it's part of a bigger story, made visible in the right context.
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We live in a world that requires us to compete on our differential use of time and information, yet only a fraction of information workers today have access to the analytical capabilities they need to make better decisions. Now, with the advent of a new generation of embedded business intelligence (BI) platforms, cloud developers are disrupting the world of analytics. They are using these new BI platforms to inject more intelligence into the applications business people use every day. As a result, data-driven decision-making is finally on track to become the rule, not the exception.
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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
Traditional siloed IT organizations, which were primarily driven by strictly gated Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) processes and workflows, created tremendously effective controls around operating, and evolving IT systems. This operational methodology was effective when the business expected methodical change to happen via large releases of hardware and software functionality that most often were delivering new capabilities every six to 12 months. As businesses continue to transform to digital and become software-defined by nature, the need to iterate on software releases...
A large US insurance carrier, based in the Midwest, has improved its applications’ lifecycle to make enterprise mobility a must-have business strength. This five-part series of penetrating discussions on the latest in enterprise mobility explores advancements in applications design and deployment technologies across the full spectrum of edge devices and operating environments. Our next innovation interview focuses on how a large US insurance carrier, based in the Midwest, has improved its applications’ lifecycle to make enterprise mobility a must-have business strength.
The challenge facing today’s project management professionals is supporting a more agile approach to software releases while managing orderly governance and production controls that are necessary. Project managers have become air traffic controllers landing more projects more frequently on more runways, and as the skies become more crowded it’s important to understand both the trends and some strategies for managing the increasingly agile enterprise.
Life may be like a box of chocolates , but Database as a Service is like a stack of pancakes. Let us count the ways… Variety is the spice of life - The last time I looked at the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) menu, there were 16 different kinds of pancakes to choose from. OpenStack Trove doesn't yet support quite that many databases, but between NoSQL and traditional relational databases, it already supports nine different database engines with more coming all the time.
Employees are using mobile devices both for personal and for business purposes. In order to keep the two domains separate and protect business data, companies are using containerization or sandboxing to control devices. As more companies adopt BYOD (bring your own device) policies, containerization will increase as well. This process began with virtualization and has now expanded to containerization, which eliminates much of the baggage of virtualization by getting rid of the hypervisor and its VMs. Now that technologies are increasingly enabling the provisioning platforms on shared infrast...
DevOps was created to reduce many of these same conflicts and while DevOps has had several high-profile successes it still presents a challenge for larger organizations. Large enterprises managing mission-critical systems still have separate silos for development and operations. In this post I discuss how DevOps fits into the enterprise and what release managers can do to adapt and extend DevOps to meet the challenges present in larger businesses. First, I’m going to define DevOps. Then I’m going to discuss the impedance mismatch between DevOps and a larger enterprise. In conclusion I’m going...
It’s been proven time and time again that in tech, diversity drives greater innovation, better team productivity and greater profits and market share. So what can we do in our DevOps teams to embrace diversity and help transform the culture of development and operations into a true “DevOps” team? In her session at DevOps Summit, Stefana Muller, Director, Product Management – Continuous Delivery at CA Technologies, will answer that question citing examples, showing how to create opportunities for diverse candidates and taking feedback from the audience on their experiences with encouraging di...
The reasons for migrating business applications to the cloud are generally positive and abundant. However, with the positives come a few negatives. Unfortunately, organizations can quickly run into a number of roadblocks during their migration projects. The critical question that needs to be asked is why? The answer is rather simple. As with many business-critical projects, the devil is found in the details. Some common factors that contribute to issues with cloud migrations are an inability to align business with IT, improperly setting performance expectations, and a lack of retooling of the...
When it comes to cybersecurity initiatives, the U.S. government has not taken a back seat. Perhaps owning to the number of high profile breaches and damaging insider attacks that have occurred in the past few years, this White House in particular has been very vocal about the federal government’s role in putting a stop to cyberattacks. Recent examples of this include Obama’s visit to Stanford University to put meet with CEOs and CSOs at major companies and discuss cybersecurity challenges, the establishment of a cybersecurity center to collect cybersecurity intelligence and the signing of an...
Our guest on the podcast this week is Mark Thiele, EVP of Data Center Technology at Switch. We discuss the idea that private clouds are often equated with do-it-yourself and why that should be changed. Taking sure you are receiving the private environment you need at a cost that can support your business. Listen in to learn the different ways to own and manage a private cloud.
DevOps is all about removing barriers to rapid, safe delivery of new experiences to your customers. Much of this revolves around automating error-prone, human-driven processes so that processes can be standardized, scaled, and varied programmatically. Some of the types of tools used in a DevOps-minded organization might include version control systems, automation servers, and configuration management systems. Many tools can be used across categories, with varying amounts of success. Some vendors offer products that claim to address all of these needs with one solution – most rarely deliver on ...
One important differentiator between what passed for digital back in the dot-com days and today’s notion of digital is the role mobile plays. Yes, this company had a mobile site, and they had what the AVP claimed was a “mobile first” plan for their web content, but as yet they had yet to roll out any responsive design. In the final analysis, their digital effort up to this point boiled down to little more than better brochureware, a la 1990s web redesigns. But more significantly, what was entirely missing from their digital achievements (although the AVP did indicate that it was a roadmap i...
In my first blog I wrote about SharePoint System Performance Health Checks beyond looking at CPU and Memory Metrics. In this blog, I cover deployment related performance health problems that I always check when looking at a SharePoint Installation. Especially after deploying new hardware, new sites, pages, views, custom or third-party Web Parts (e.g., from AvePoint, K2, Nintex, Metalogix, etc.) it’s important to perform certain deployment sanity checks. While you may have nobody reporting issues in the moment there are several areas that you constantly need to check before they become a real p...
Trust is the fundamental building block of any relationship. Whether it's personal or business, trust is something that cannot be replaced with anything. There are hundreds of books available on how to cultivate business relationships, how to maintain them, and how to leverage the best from them and so on. What forms the basis of a business relationship and what are the fundamental blocks of building trust? Here are three things that will get you started when thinking about using trust building trust and maintaining trust.
Mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT) have thrust many businesses into the era of the truly digital enterprise. This means opening up new channels and business opportunities. APIs are the key, enabling the digital enterprise to connect itself to myriad external apps and partners while cracking open an equally expansive range of fresh internal connections. Everything a digital enterprise touches through a Mobile or IoT device is backed by an API. As an enterprise, you are consuming more data and services as APIs from third parties than ever before. The question, however, is “Do you know if y...
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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