Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Sematext Blog

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, PowerBuilder, Microsoft Cloud, @CloudExpo, Apache

Microservices Expo: 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.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Rapid innovation, changing business landscapes, and new IT demands force businesses to make changes quickly. In the eyes of many, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery. In this presentation, attendees learned about the: The transformation of IT to a DevOps, microservices, and container-based architecture What are containers and how DevOps practices can operate in a container-based environment A demonstration of how ...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes how...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Phil Hombledal, Solution Architect at CollabNet, discussed how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
Between 2005 and 2020, data volumes will grow by a factor of 300 – enough data to stack CDs from the earth to the moon 162 times. This has come to be known as the ‘big data’ phenomenon. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to handling, storing and analyzing data aren’t adequate at this scale: they’re too costly, slow and physically cumbersome to keep up. Fortunately, in response a new breed of technology has emerged that is cheaper, faster and more scalable. Yet, in meeting these new needs they...
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
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...
Monitoring of Docker environments is challenging. Why? Because each container typically runs a single process, has its own environment, utilizes virtual networks, or has various methods of managing storage. Traditional monitoring solutions take metrics from each server and applications they run. These servers and applications running on them are typically very static, with very long uptimes. Docker deployments are different: a set of containers may run many applications, all sharing the resource...
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his session at @DevOpsSummit 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, showed how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that enables everyone fro...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Application transformation and DevOps practices are two sides of the same coin. Enterprises that want to capture value faster, need to deliver value faster – time value of money principle. To do that enterprises need to build cloud-native apps as microservices by empowering teams to build, ship, and run in production. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Neil Gehani, senior product manager at HPE, discussed what every business should plan for how to structure their teams to delive...
As we enter the final week before the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in Santa Clara, CA, it's time for me to reflect on six big topics that will be important during the show. Hybrid Cloud This general-purpose term seems to provide a comfort zone for many enterprise IT managers. It sounds reassuring to be able to work with one of the major public-cloud providers like AWS or Microsoft Azure while still maintaining an on-site presence.
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, showed how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningful f...
Logs are continuous digital records of events generated by all components of your software stack – and they’re everywhere – your networks, servers, applications, containers and cloud infrastructure just to name a few. The data logs provide are like an X-ray for your IT infrastructure. Without logs, this lack of visibility creates operational challenges for managing modern applications that drive today’s digital businesses.