Welcome!

AJAX & REA Authors: Gary Kaiser, Kevin Benedict, Matthew Lobas, RealWire News Distribution, Roger Strukhoff

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.


Cloud Expo Breaking News
After a couple of false starts, cloud-based desktop solutions are picking up steam, driven by trends such as BYOD and pervasive high-speed connectivity. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, cuts through the hype and the acronyms, and discusses the emergence of full-featured cloud workspaces that do for the desktop what cloud infrastructure did for the server. He’ll discuss VDI vs DaaS, implementation strategies and evaluation criteria.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Cloud Computing is evolving into a Big Three of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Cloud 360: Multi-Cloud Bootcamp, being held Nov 4–5, 2014, in conjunction with 15th Cloud Expo in Santa Clara, CA, delivers a real-world demonstration of how to deploy and configure a scalable and available web application on all three platforms. The Cloud 360 Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, an analyst with Gigaom Research, is the first bootcamp that introduces the core concepts of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based on the workings of the Big Three platforms – Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, and Azure VMs. Bootcamp attendees will get to see the big picture and also receive the knowledge needed to make the best cloud decisions for their business applications and entire enterprise IT organization.
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 a natural complement to the cloud and related technologies such as Big Data, analytics, and mobility. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Joe Weinman will lay out four generic strategies – digital disciplines – to exploit emerging digital technologies for strategic advantage. Joe Weinman has held executive leadership positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, and Telx, in areas such as corporate strategy, business development, product management, operations, and R&D.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DevOps.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's “DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo,” which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. DevOps.com is where the world meets DevOps. It is the largest collection of original content relating to DevOps on the web today Featuring up-to-the-minute news, feature stories, blogs, bylined articles and more, DevOps.com is where the thought leaders of the DevOps movement make their ideas known.
There are 182 billion emails sent every day, generating a lot of data about how recipients and ISPs respond. Many marketers take a more-is-better approach to stats, preferring to have the ability to slice and dice their email lists based numerous arbitrary stats. However, fundamentally what really matters is whether or not sending an email to a particular recipient will generate value. Data Scientists can design high-level insights such as engagement prediction models and content clusters that allow marketers to cut through the noise and design their campaigns around strong, predictive signals, rather than arbitrary statistics. SendGrid sends up to half a billion emails a day for customers such as Pinterest and GitHub. All this email adds up to more text than produced in the entire twitterverse. We track events like clicks, opens and deliveries to help improve deliverability for our customers – adding up to over 50 billion useful events every month. While SendGrid data covers only abo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the Web Host Industry Review has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 2000, The Web Host Industry Review has made a name for itself as the foremost authority of the Web hosting industry providing reliable, insightful and comprehensive news, reviews and resources to the hosting community. TheWHIR Blogs provides a community of expert industry perspectives. The Web Host Industry Review Magazine also offers a business-minded, issue-driven perspective of interest to executives and decision-makers. WHIR TV offers on demand web hosting video interviews and web hosting video features of the key persons and events of the web hosting industry. WHIR Events brings together like-minded hosting industry professionals and decision-makers in local communities. TheWHIR is an iNET Interactive property.
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Verizon has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Verizon Enterprise Solutions creates global connections that generate growth, drive business innovation and move society forward. With industry-specific solutions and a full range of global wholesale offerings provided over the company's secure mobility, cloud, strategic networking and advanced communications platforms, Verizon Enterprise Solutions helps open new opportunities around the world for innovation, investment and business transformation. Visit verizonenterprise.com to learn more.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMCnet has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) is the world's leading business to business and integrated marketing media company, servicing niche markets within the communications and technology industries.
"In my session I spoke about enterprise cloud analytics and how we can leverage analytics as a service," explained Ajay Budhraja, CTO at the Department of Justice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
“We are starting to see people move beyond the commodity cloud and enterprises need to start focusing on additional value added services in order to really drive their adoption," explained Jason Mondanaro, Director of Product Management at MetraTech, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
"We are automated capacity control software, which basically looks at all the supply and demand and running a virtual cloud environment and does a deep analysis of that and says where should things go," explained Andrew Hillier, Co-founder & CTO of CiRBA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.