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KDnuggets Home » News » 2016 » Oct » Opinions, Interviews » Here’s How IT Departments are Using Big Data ( 16:n36 )

Here’s How IT Departments are Using Big Data

The use cases for big data are clear when it comes to areas like marketing, healthcare, and retail, but IT’s use of big data is a little less clear. Recently, however, some IT departments are finding ways to use big data to improve their individual operations along with that of the entire organization.

Worldwide data

With all the businesses and industries that are interested in adopting big data solutions, it’s no surprise that IT departments are looking to get in the game as well. It’s a big money area where organizations believe plenty of improvement can happen. In fact, nearly $4 trillion are spent every year in the IT industry worldwide, making it a perfect target for big data operations. Implementing those solutions, however, hasn’t exactly been intuitive. The use cases for big data are clear when it comes to areas like marketing (improved customer targeting), healthcare (more accurate diagnoses), and retail (better store layout), but IT’s use of big data is a little less clear. This is in part driven by the fact that IT is a rapidly evolving industry, but over the past few years, some IT departments are finding ways to use big data to improve their individual operations along with that of the entire organization.

Perhaps one of the best ways IT departments use big data is through improved asset management. As companies have become more versatile, they’ve also acquired a lot more in assets that IT needs to manage. Just as an example, what used to be a few dozen databases for many mid-size companies has now turned into a thousand or more. Added to that are more physical servers that have to be managed, more applications, and increased storage needs, and combine that with the IT staff staying stagnant in size or even having fewer employees, and the management burden on IT departments can become immense.

This increase in responsibilities and assets is often referred to as digital sprawl, but big data analytics can help in IT management cases. Many big data tools can help in managing the assets IT professionals are tasked with. Those tools include Hadoop and Spark as a Service, both of which can be used to construct a configuration management database. With the right tools in hand, IT can also ensure that data that is transferred and shared across silos is consistent and accurate.

One of the most important tasks IT pros see to is IT security. Network monitoring is crucial for protecting the valuable data organizations store, but networks have grown more complex and the number and types of external threats have multiplied. If IT departments had to use traditional methods for protecting IT systems, they would quickly find themselves overwhelmed. Luckily, big data has advanced to the point where analytics can be used to monitor networks to detect these threats more quickly, alerting the right people and cutting down on the number of false alarms. Much of this process is automated, saving IT workers time and allowing them to concentrate on other aspects of their jobs.

Big data is also allowing IT professionals to become more involved in the business aspect of their organizations. Whereas before, IT departments were looked at as only a division of a business meant to provide the right tech tools and support when needed, now they’re becoming more ingrained in every part of the company. Big data has fostered this growth as the need to innovation has become crucial to business success. Executives see the combination of business and IT as the right strategy to pursue as it gives more opportunities to turn insights from big data analytics into decisions affecting revenue.

IT also uses big data to help them with the management of a virtualized environment. As organizations turn physical servers into virtualized ones as part of many modular solutions, tracking applications has become increasingly difficult. With big data and machine learning tools, IT pros can figure out which applications aren’t function as well as they should. In other words, big data is instrumental in the troubleshooting process, helping IT departments keep an eye on the virtualized environment much more easily.

With big data on the rise, IT departments are finding helpful ways to incorporate analytics into their operations. We’re still in the beginning stages of this implementation, so as the years go on, IT professionals will likely become more familiar with how big data can help them in their responsibilities. What’s for certain is that big data will play a large role in IT functions going forward.

Bio: Rick DelgadoRick Delgado is a technology commentator interested in enterprise technology.


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