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The Anatomy of a Big Data Solution for Enterprise

Posted on: July 13th, 2015 by Daniella Lundsberg

The entire point of Big Data is to unlock the value that will drive better decision-making, higher operational efficiencies, customer loyalty, behavioral insight, and a host of other business outcomes that can positively impact your organization’s bottom line. Getting there requires an infrastructure that can collect, store, access, analyze and manage all the various forms of data inside your servers, or in the cloud, and allow you to convert it into actionable intelligence. And, by the way, it needs to integrate into your existing environment.

Hardware, Software, Platforms

IT infrastructure has evolved over decades from mainframes that handled yesteryear’s version of high-volume transactions, to online transactional processing (OLTP) databases –that became widely accessible in the form of CRM, ERP and e-commerce systems, to data warehouses that incorporated all of this transactional data with software for analytical insight – the rise of Business Intelligence (BI). Today, the evolution continues with HP ConvergedSystems bringing together compute, storage and networking, (including HP ConvergedSystem for Big Data optimized for SAP HANA), and HP Vertica Big Data Analytics Platform.

HP Vertica is a standards-based relational database that supports SQL, JDBC/ODBC and tightly integrates all popular BI and visualization tools. It can handle SQL and Big Data analytic workloads at 30 percent of the cost of traditional data warehouse solutions. It runs queries 50-1,000x faster, boasts petabyte-scale storage up to 30x more data per server, and offers the openness and simplicity to use any BI/ETL tools and Hadoop. Organizations can use HP Vertica to manage and analyze massive volumes of data quickly and reliably without the limits or compromises of traditional enterprise data warehouses.

Healthcare industry innovators, business collaboration platform providers, multimedia entertainment companies, and mobile game developers are among the legions of HP Vertica believers. (See for yourself.)

How About Hadoop?

The HP Vertica Analytics Platform and Hadoop are highly complementary systems for Big Data analytics. While HP Vertica is ideal for interactive, blazing-fast analytics, Hadoop is well suited for batch-oriented data processing and low-cost data storage. When used together organizations benefit from the synergies of the most powerful set of data analytics capabilities, extracting significantly higher levels of value from massive amounts of structured, unstructured, and semi-structured data.

Avoid Frankenstein’s Monster

Every organization’s technology environment and business requirements are unique, giving rise to the need for tailored solutions. Simply bolting parts onto your existing environment could cause the villagers to revolt. Before you embark on your Big Data quest, consult with a partner like American Digital to understand what embodies a successful enterprise implementation.

 

Join us in Chicago on July 23 at our Big Data Symposium. Meet tech execs from HP, SAP, Hortonworks, and Big Data guru & Fortune 50 consultant, Chris Surdak. Register here.

How Do You Know When It’s Time To Tackle Big Data?

Posted on: July 9th, 2015 by Daniella Lundsberg

Organizations ranging from healthcare, to education, to manufacturing, and Fortune 1000 companies across a wide swath of industries are candidates for Big Data implementations. Now is the time for information technology and line of business leaders to come together to understand when and how to tackle Big Data.

What exactly is Big Data?

Big Data is characterized by the four “Vs”:

Volume – the vast amount of data that is generated every second (This infographic1  illustrates where all this data comes from.)

Variety – the different forms of data, both structured–like patient health records, and unstructured–like your fitness tracker’s stats

Velocity – the speed at which data is generated and the speed at which data moves around– think skateboarding-cat viral videos

Veracity – the trustworthiness of data, especially that of unstructured data, from social media, for example

You can, and should, also add a fifth “V”:

Value – The “V” that matters most is the ability to turn all that data into business value.

How can I extract value from my Big Data?

More than ever, companies are trying to understand how Big Data can help their organizations operate more efficiently and better serve their customers. It is vitally important to determine the requirements of each line of business and develop use cases that illustrate real-world scenarios. For instance, an industry use case shows how healthcare and life sciences companies can use the HP Big Data Platform to improve patient analytics through multiple aspects of operations. The value is seen in many areas:

  • Patient outcomes can be improved by using analytics to prevent complications, increase the effectiveness of treatments, and manage predictive care.
  • Organizations can generate all the metrics they need at a moment’s notice to stay compliant with healthcare reform mandates.
  • Deep insights from real-time analyses of clinical data can help inform medical researchers.

(See use cases for Financial Services, Public Sector and other industries here.)

Where do I start?

Before you undertake a Big Data initiative, consider what kind of business value you want to derive and consult with an expert, like American Digital, who can help your organization tap into the value of your Big Data assets. We provide everything you need to profit from Big Data from assessments to strategic planning and use case development. We work with top technology partners like HP, SAP, and Hortonworks to provide custom Big Data & Analytics solutions from design to implementation and governance. As a Platinum HP partner, we are certified to support and implement Big Data solutions including HP’s Vertica, a versatile offering that allows clients access to an analytics platform that is designed to exploit a wide variety of data while enabling them to accelerate business value from simplified reporting and analysis processes.

Find out if it’s time for your organization to tackle Big Data. We’re here to help.

If you’re in Chicago on July 23, join us for our free 2015 American Digital Big Data Symposium. Tech execs from HP, SAP and Hortonworks will be in attendance. Plus, you can meet Big Data guru, Fortune 50 consultant, and rocket scientist, Chris Surdak. Register here.

1  Data Never Sleeps 2.0, DOMO

 

 

 

How Companies Can Capitalize on Big Data

Posted on: June 11th, 2015 by Daniella Lundsberg

Marketers and decision makers have been longing for greater insight into customer behavior, and the era of big data has finally arrived. More facts, figures, information, and insight are now at our disposal than ever before. Data is exploding, with companies gathering intelligence through a myriad of sources and customer interactions – from credit card transactions through customer survey responses, web server logs, and social media activity. But all of this data is only valuable for the companies that can distill it and convert it into meaningful and actionable analytics.

To make this data meaningful, IT solutions need to not only manage the sheer volume of information now available through various applications and channels but also the constant inflow. Data and metrics arrive continuously in real time, and this volume, variety, and variability exceeds the capabilities of traditional relational databases and business intelligence (BI) software. Companies need to make use of structured data, like customer records and spreadsheets, along with semi-structured and unstructured data like image files, PDF files, videos, web pages, emails, and word processing documents.

To meet these complexities, companies are turning to newer and more sophisticated technologies like Hadoop, MapReduce, Hive, and Pig for data collection all the way through data visualization. These solutions not only handle greater data complexity but can also return results faster – making real-time insight attainable.

With advanced big data analytics, companies can use the information they already have to enhance decision-making, track trends, and boost their competitive edge. They can gain actionable insight into today’s customer behaviors along with the ability to forecast future correlations, patterns, and market trends. Companies are also able to use big data to support geo-targeted and personalized marketing initiatives, assess and improve customer service processes, explore new revenue opportunities, and launch proactive offers based on predictive behavioral modeling. Determine how you can capitalize from Big Data.

 

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Measuring the Reputation Cost of Data Breach

Posted on: May 19th, 2015 by Daniella Lundsberg

The security landscape is constantly evolving, with businesses today fighting a cybercrime ecosystem that encompasses global players. Hackers now invest as much – if not more – toward exposing vulnerabilities as companies do in securing them. Assuming the right solutions are in place, most enterprises can stay under the radar and avoid a major breach. But there’s never a guarantee, and recent exposures at companies like Home Depot, Sony, and Target offer valuable insight that can help us all plan for and better comprehend the magnitude of loss potential.

The initial breach primarily affects the consumer, who faces bank-imposed limits and time-consuming card cancellations. For the business itself, along with that data loss, one of the greatest risks is long-term damage to the brand’s reputation. A trusted and established reputation can take decades to build – and mere seconds to destroy. Security breaches force companies to invest heavily in resources aimed at salvaging employee morale, stock valuation, consumer trust and loyalty. When customers are afraid to transact with a business, this also naturally puts a strain on traffic and revenue. For companies that survive a scandal, the fallout and ramifications can still take months to years to reconcile.

The extent of the damage and the time it takes to reinvigorate a brand’s reputation is largely dependent on the breadth of exposure and the manner in which the crisis is handled. Data breaches are one of three occurrences to have the greatest impact on brand reputation, according to a survey conducted by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Experian’s Data Breach Resolution unit entitled “The Aftermath of a Mega Data Breach: Consumer Sentiment”. In this survey, data breach was ranked up with environmental disasters and poor customer service.

When evaluating potential risk, planning for crisis resolution, and assessing the cost of an enterprise security solution, tangible assets alone aren’t enough. Decision makers must also estimate the monetary value of, and the earning potential in, their brand reputation. They need to ask themselves: “How much is our brand reputation worth?”

Ready to for a security assessment? Contact the American Digital security team today.

USG Chooses American Digital for Data Center Solution

Posted on: March 5th, 2015 by Daniella Lundsberg

Any company that has celebrated its centennial knows a thing or two about adaptability and agility. For more than 100 years, USG Corporation has built a premier portfolio of groundbreaking construction and remodeling products, continuing to set new standards for productivity and efficiency. With a reputation for quality, service and innovation, USG has demonstrated its resilience through a commitment to work smarter and faster… all to help customers achieve their visions.

To help USG achieve its own vision, American Digital applied its extensive data center expertise to execute a forward-looking solution to enhance the productivity and performance of USG’s technology infrastructure, positioning the company for rapid growth.

“American Digital was a valued partner who was fully engaged throughout the whole process. From the first meeting when we began to outline the project goals to final closure, American Digital was there to answer our questions and provide subject matter expertise when it mattered most,” said Larry Sullivan, USG Senior IT Manager.

Storage Refresh

USG had separate applications running two distinct systems on two different storage platforms. Rather than addressing one expiring lease in isolation, USG’s plan was to consolidate its internal resources and merge its separate environments into a single platform. Combining its teams to focus on a single technology would allow USG to maximize its investment.

While USG’s internal teams were experts at maintaining its legacy systems, their destination of Tier 1 technology represented new territory. They wanted to partner with a team that was not only familiar with a Tier 1 storage platform, but one that had outstanding expertise in data migration. To support a technology refresh of their data center in its entirety, USG selected American Digital as its partner.

American Digital provides the right tech solution

“American Digital approached our project like a true partner. They weren’t trying to sell us products. They listened to our requirements, understood our project goals and helped design a solution that made sense both financially and technically,” recounts Sullivan.

American Digital conducted a comprehensive initial assessment of the storage and server environment at no cost to USG. As an HP Premier Partner, American Digital also created numerous opportunities for USG managers — at every level — to hear from HP executives about what the company was doing with storage technology and where HP was going in the future. According to Sullivan, “A lot of similar vendors have similar capabilities, but we have a strong partnership with American Digital and now, HP. Knowing that HP’s future road showed a clear path to 3PAR storage technology convinced us we had the right solution.”

In moving from two separate storage platforms into one consolidated, higher-performance platform, USG has realized benefits on multiple levels, including financial, performance, and flexibility. With one common lease for both its Windows and Open Systems environments, USG is reaping the financial benefits of better expense management and cost savings for greater capacity. The new storage solution offers minimum downtime for both production and non-production environments. And the streamlined solution allowed USG to manage its storage solution with existing resources, making it both easier and more efficient to operate.

Overall, the solution implemented by American Digital allows USG to be more agile as it adjusts to competitive forces and market trends. “American Digital offered the whole package: partnership, flexibility, technical expertise and a proven track record. All-in-all, I see the solution as providing great value to USG,” says Sullivan. “Even after the project completed, American Digital has continued to provide valuable input to help us fully leverage our investment.”

To learn more about American Digital and its solutions, visit American Digital’s case studies.

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