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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 writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com

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


Cloud Expo 2013 East Opening Keynote by IBM
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Lisa Larson, Vice President of Enterprise Cloud Solutions of Rackspace Hosting Live From New York City
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Most of us already know that adopting new cloud applications can boost a business’s productivity by enabling organizations to be more agile and ready to change course in our fast-moving and connected digital world. But the rapid adoption of cloud apps and services also brings with it profound security threats, including visibility and control challenges that aren’t present in traditional on-premises environments. At the same time, the cloud – because of its interconnected, flexible and adaptable...
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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)

Best Recent Articles on Cloud Computing & Big Data Topics
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Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Larry Carvalho has been named Tech Chair of Cloud Expo® 2014. 14th International Cloud Expo will take place on June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and 15th International Cloud Expo® will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Everyone talks about a cloud-first or mobile-first strategy. It's the trend du jour, and for good reason as these innovative technologies have revolutionized an industry and made savvy companies a lot of money. But consider for a minute what's emerging with the Age of Context and the Internet of Things. Devices, interfaces, everyday objects are becoming endowed with computing smarts. This is creating an unprecedented focus on the Application Programming Interface (API) as developers seek to connect these devices and interfaces to create new supporting services and hybrids. I call this trend the move toward an API-first business model and strategy.
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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Cloud Expo was a fantastic event for CSS Corp - we easily exceeded our objectives for engaging with clients and prospects."
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With our launch at Cloud Expo, we successfully transformed the company from a relatively unknown European player into the dominant player in the market. Our competitors were taken by surprise and just blown away. We got a huge number of really high quality leads..."
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We were extremely pleased with Cloud Expo this year - I’d say it exceeded expectations all around. This is the same info we got from partners who attended as well. Nice job!"
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@CloudExpo Blogs
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, Inc., put cognitive computing into perspective with its value to the business. The sessi...
Large enterprises today are juggling an enormous variety of network equipment. Business users are asking for specific network throughput guarantees when it comes to their critical applications, legal departments require compliance with mandated regulatory frameworks, and operations are asked to do more with shrinking budgets. All these requirements do not easily align with existing network architectures; hence, network operators are continuously faced with a slew of granular parameter change requests, trying to meet ongoing network requirement changes without having the proper tools in place.
Does a Content Delivery Network (CDN) protect against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks? It’s a good question. A CDN by its very nature will absorb DDoS attacks for the content that it serves and this could be considered protection but, as is often the case, this is only the beginning of the story. If we consider what is actually going on here, the CDN isn’t actually ‘blocking’ the DDoS attack – it is simply reducing its impact by throwing more resources at the problem. This means that the size of the DDoS attack a CDN can deal with is inherently dependent on the size of the CDNs ...
I moderated a panel of three CIOs last Sunday at the Solix Empower conference on the subject of data-driven enterprise. The three CIO’s came from different industries. Marc Parmet of the TechPar group spent many years at Avery Dennison after stints at Apple and IBM. Sachin Mathur leads the IT innovations at Terex Corp., a large company supplying cranes and other heavy equipments. PK Agarwal, currently dean at Northeastern University, used to be the CIO for the Government of California. Here are some of the points covered:
Those that lead are able to collect and analyze data that followers can't. Think about the first climber to reach the top of the mountain, they have a new and different view slower followers don't. If you believe, as I do, that understanding data is the secret sauce of the digitally transformed enterprise, then having data not available to your competitors is a treasure! Those that achieve digital transformation before their competitors will have advantages - and advantages have advantages. Not only do they have new experiences and new data to analyze and understand, they are able to develo...
One look at the comments section of an April column on digital marketing in TechCrunch, and it becomes obvious that contributor Samuel Scott, the marketing and communications director for data analytics software firm Logz.io, pushed a few hot buttons with his take on marketing tech. Scott argues for a back-to-basics approach to marketing that roots digital strategies firmly in old-school tradition and PR principles. He calls out the communications industry for its reliance on “an echo chamber of meaningless buzzwords” in a piece now shared nearly 16,000 times, with more than 140 comments from...
Internet of Things (IoT) is the in thing that no sane company would neglect. BlackBerry after its recent smart phone is also into IoT and has a complete platform. Main vertical applications targeted are automotive and asset tracking for now. Here is about the platform in Blackberry's own words. "The BlackBerry® IoT Platform is here to give you that control, providing a cloud-based solution that lets you build and manage IoT applications and devices in a secure, efficient, and scalable way."
About a year ago we tuned into “the need for speed” and how a concept like "serverless computing” was increasingly catering to this. We are now a year further and the term “serverless” is taking on unexpected proportions. With some even seeing it as the successor to cloud in general or at least as a successor to the clouds’ poorer cousin in terms of revenue, hype and adoption: PaaS. The question we need to ask is whether this constitutes an example of Hype Hopping: to effortlessly pivot to the next new thing once the previous one turns out to be just a bit less attractive and certainly a lot ...
The future of data centers looks very exciting. Data Centers are turning out to be increasingly important in today's connected world as we can store and process a lot of consumer and commercial data. Data centers seem to be either becoming huge or very small. In general, marketing cloud storage and cloud computing services are likely to increase the profit margins and favor the large players. There is an increasing need for superior Data center competence as we are more dependent on cloud-based applications and huge Data center services.
In their 2014 CIO Agenda report Gartner describe how ‘Taming the Digital Dragon‘ is key to Digital Transformation strategies, with the Hybrid Cloud Platform model as the enabling technology blueprint AND business model. As their ‘We are here' arrow describes Gartner propose we are at the transition point from a second to a third generation of IT, the shift from IT industrialization to Digitization, where the key skills of a CIO are business models and digital leadership, rather than just IT service management aka a shift from the CIO to the CDO - Chief Digital Officer.
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT deployments can go bad, and in some cases downright ugly, when firms focus on the wrong things and fai...
Fog Computing is being touted as the data communication solution our Internet of Things (IoT) devices are asking for by bringing the power of cloud computing closer to the end user. The fact is, the number of connected devices is going to continue to grow exponentionally. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020 IoT will include 26 billion connected things. Consider the impact that amount of data collected and processed will have.
Most of us already know that adopting new cloud applications can boost a business’s productivity by enabling organizations to be more agile and ready to change course in our fast-moving and connected digital world. But the rapid adoption of cloud apps and services also brings with it profound security threats, including visibility and control challenges that aren’t present in traditional on-premises environments. At the same time, the cloud – because of its interconnected, flexible and adaptable nature – can also provide new possibilities for addressing cloud security problems. By leveraging t...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and on the other side, organizations that will find themselves as roadkill on the technology highway.
Just as writing has come to mean texting, blogging or any form of digital writing, the cloud today means one or all of the three Cs: computing, connectivity and communication. And just as nearly all thought to putting pen to paper has disappeared, all reference to the natural cloud is long forgotten. The three Cs have altered the way we consume services. The adage, “change is the only constant,” holds true in the IT landscape like no other, forcing IT admins to constantly learn new skills and make strategic decisions.
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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