What can you do to maximize the data exhaust your enterprise gives off every day?

The machinery of a business is much like the physical machinery of an automobile.  In an automobile, a physical engine powers the automobile whereas the metaphorical equivalent within business is people, process and technology.   In an automobile, how fast or slow you go and where you go depend upon a variety of factors; – fuel, the condition of the machinery, road conditions, engine capacity, weather, etc.  For a business, it’s talent, manpower, innovation, market acceptance, resource utilization, capacity, marketing and sales, and competitive positioning.  

Your combustible automobile takes in fuel, processes that fuel to generate energy, and expels the processed fuel through the muffler.   In business, people, computers, equipment, devices, and people undertake efforts every day and those activities are expelled in the form of data.   The big difference between a physical machine like an automobile or the distributed power of a business is that the spent energy is consolidated and extruded through a centralized point, namely the muffler.  Whereas, in business, this data is locked up in lots of silos throughout the enterprise. 

Collecting, aggregating, and correlating this data as it’s generated is extremely valuable.  Why?  Because this data will provide you with crucial technical and business insights to a) get way out in front of problems before they become large and b) allow you to make more informed (while relevant) business decisions.  Here are just a few examples of the types of things you can do with this data:

  • Search Information Across your Distributed Enterprise
    • What systems are running a compromised version of Java and need to be patched?
    • What is the oldest version of Linux running in your environment?
  • Security Information Event Management
    • What notable security activity has occurred across your environment requiring further investigation? 
    • Are hackers targeting specific machines in your network or cloud environments?
    • Who accessed what information when?
  • Application Performance Monitoring
    • Why did an application fail?
    • Why is an application running slowly?
  • Sentiment Analysis
    • What are consumers saying about your business across social media platforms?
    • Are expressed views about your business trending up or down?
  • Supply Chain
    • Is your Just In Time manufacturing process in jeopardy of stalling from supplier latency or too little inventory on hand?
    • Can you fulfill a new order in time with materials on hand?
    • What trucks are on the road? Where are they located? What are they carrying?

To successfully pull this off at scale you need three things:

  1. A highly scalable platform to aggregate, analyze, search and visualize this data. Elastic – with over 100 million downloads, proven performance record and a massive install base is both a safe and cost-effective platform for this type of undertaking.
  2. Required storage to handle the aggregated/indexed data.
  3. Skilled resources to manage the solution – Administrators need a basic understanding or REST/JSON and API’s. End Users simply need to learn the basics of Search.

While there is incredible value in just simply aggregating and storing this data, it’s best to start with a measurable end goal for delivering tangible business benefits in mind and work backward.  Although you may start by tackling just one business issue, the opportunities to leverage this same data for exponential operational improvement will snowball over time. 

Go start your engines!

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