Red Mind Solutions CEO Wuco: Big Data Analytics — How the Fortune 500 Have Learned From Military Expertise

Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 10:01 AM

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By Frank Wuco, LCDR USN (Ret.)
CEO, Red Mind Solutions Inc.


Dictated by necessity, the United States intelligence and defense communities have emerged as an unquestioned global leader in data analysis and implementation.

The sheer magnitude of data now analyzed by our military, on an hourly basis, would have been incomprehensible just a decade ago. However, U.S military commanders and intelligence analysts have spent decades and billions of dollars on research and development, resulting in incredible avant-garde technologies that have revolutionized data analytics.

Some of these technologies were developed indigenously and organically within the Defense Department, CIA, and NSA; others were adapted from external, private technologies. In addition to safeguarding American cities and citizens, as well as adding significant speed and efficiency to intelligence analysis processes, this revolutionary technology will soon provide a most welcome boon to American corporations struggling with the exorbitant amount of data currently bogging down productivity and profits.

Corporate America has a long and proud history of adapting military technology for commercial use. Surely the R&D teams credited with developing facial recognition software and the unmanned drone did not consider the software’s applications for Facebook or Amazon, respectively.

Yet, Facebook has implemented facial recognition technology with such success that the ACLU has taken up the cause and Amazon has begun testing delivery drones, which it plans to use to fulfill orders in under 30 minutes!

The adaptation and applicability of military technology has yielded incredibly positive results. The utilization of the military’s data analysis technology by the private sector is poised to become the most profitable adaptation of this century.

"Big Data" — parochially defined as “Data that is too big to analyze and produce output using traditional tools” — is a very real threat to American businesses and it is imperative that large businesses prepare for the inevitable and equip themselves with the technology to effectively handle the intake of incredible amounts of data, or at least understand whether or not they need to jump on the Big Data bandwagon.

Here again, organically developed technologies born out of the challenges of war, combat, life and death stand poised to boost communities where profit and loss shape the battle space.

wucochart1.jpg
Source: Wikibon; United Nations Economic Commission Europe.

This shows that the most common environments are well above what can be easily handled by standard IT departments. These data loads require a more professional and specialized data management environment, employing such powerful and “en vogue” systems like Hadoop and STORM, both designed to harness and chain multiple, large data stores and streaming binary systems.

However, Big Data is neither easily defined nor shaped and the very individuals who coined the phrase admit they did not really know what it meant when they devised the term. There are no cookie cutter solutions for the “Big Data” problem and individual cases vary greatly, as to weather a company needs a Big Data solution, or just thinks it does because everyone is talking about Big Data.

That said, the market for big data solutions continues to grow. By 2017, the market will reach an estimated $50 billion, an annual increase of 37.5 percent from 2011. At the same time, the data size will grow 34.6 percent; from 2005 to 2020 the data size will grow 27.9 percent. The market for data solutions is booming, and it will not stop.

wucochart2.jpg
Source: Enterprise Management Associates; 9sight Consulting Research Report, November 2013.

It is clear that the data overload culture we have developed over the last several decades — combined with a heightened regulatory burden on many companies — has led global corporate leadership invest heavily in these new technologies in order to more efficiently store and process data.

An emerging discipline within all the chatter and rave about “Big Data” will be “Data Sense.” That is, not assuming that an organization needs a Big Data solution, just because, but rather needs a targeted data solution that leaves all that “big” data in place, while discreetly identifying the essential elements of data required to resolve or solution a particular challenge or problem.

Data targeting should represent an arsenal of tools at an organization’s disposal, with tools like Hadoop and STORM only being employed where absolutely necessary and even in today’s environment Big Data weapons are overkill. Still, it is often important to “surrender” to the terminology being used to define an environment in general terms and Big Data suffices well enough to define the complex challenges of large stores and generators of multiple, disparate types of data across both static and dynamic environments.

Technologies initially developed to combat America’s enemies, are now counted among the world’s most prominent private sector advancements Today, for large corporations faced with implementing billions in infrastructure and enhanced regulatory costs, data is the enemy.

However, through the implementation of cutting edge military technology, corporate American can change the face of how it interacts with data. This exciting trend harkens to a time in the 1970’s, when even ball point pens boasted of “NASA” technology; “Same pens the astronauts use!” the commercials would proclaim. Soon corporations will be able to boast: “My data analytics software is the same stuff the military uses to find terrorists.”




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