|CONCEPTS IN THE CLOUD How to handle—and take advantage of—the data avalanche|
By 2020, the amount of information in the U.S. economy is expected to grow by 44 times-and yet executives admit they are unprepared to take full advantage of big data and cloud computing, according to studies by Booz Allen Hamilton.
The company released the first two of several studies intended to assist corporate leaders in managing the onslaught of information. Included in its first offering, Booz Allen developed the Cloud Analytics Reference Architecture. Today, organizations are forced to make decisions based on limited access to information. But this approach-rooted in a mindset change-opens new avenues for analytics that lead to critical, mission-enabling insights.
The Cloud Analytics Reference Architecture consolidates previously-siloed data into a manageable, useful, common pool, or "data lake." By removing constraints of conventional techniques that lock data and analytics into stovepipes, analysts can ask more intuitive questions, search for unexpected data patterns and focus more on human insight and action.
· Removes the constraints created by data silos.
· Allows organizations to experiment more with the data, and to ask more intuitive questions.
· Enables people to focus on creating value by letting computers take over much of the work done now.
· Ensures subject matter experts can explore the data.
Understanding the true business case of transitioning to the cloud requires paying careful attention to cost, productivity benefits, and return on investment. A rigorous, systematic analysis of the return on investment of cloud solutions before signing on to a preferred system will give agency leaders a clearer picture of the costs and benefits of moving to the cloud. In fact, a move based on cost savings alone rarely yields a positive return on investment.
This analysis must cover:
· Cost considerations: these transition costs include how quickly agencies can close out legacy architecture and shift software and applications, as well as the extent to which data storage facilities and the IT workforce can be repurposed or retrained once the cloud has been introduced.
· Potential productivity benefits: productivity gains across disparate activities can be difficult to pin down, and even tougher to ascribe to a single investment. Including the potential for productivity gains in a calculation of return on investment begins with a study of current costs, analyzing whether or how those costs can be permanently reduced once in-house data management is replaced by a cloud system.
· The biggest benefit of moving to the cloud comes from creating efficiencies within the organization once data is more universally and readily accessible. Rich rewards are available when leaders study the business case upfront; down the line, organizations will enjoy meaningful productivity gains as the cloud helps to reorganize work processes.
Booz Allen Hamilton recently released "Delivering on the Promise of Big Data and the Cloud" and "Developing a Business Case for Cloud: Analyzing Return on Investment for Cloud Alternatives May Yield Surprising Results," two perspectives in its new Concepts in the Cloud series.
Concepts in the Cloud draws from Booz Allen's work helping private and public sector organizations move beyond traditional techniques that stovepipe data to new, more holistic ways of viewing data that unlock business-driving insights.
Also forthcoming in series:
· New Ways of Managing Big Data in the "Data Lake": This effective and efficient way to load, store and access multiple data sources results in more expansive access to data, while providing a new way to manage data.
· Enabling Cloud Analytics with Data-Level Security.
· Empowering the Government's Digital Enterprise
Leaders from across Booz Allen with expertise in cloud technology, cloud analytics, cyber security, and data management have authored these Concepts in the Cloud perspectives.
[This article was posted on January 22, 2013, on the website of ABA Banking Journal, www.ababj.com.]
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