According to IDC, 42 percent of all data will be machine-generated by 2020, which includes data from sensors, security systems, networks, servers, storage, and applications. Today, most of these data are an untapped potential for making decisions.
Because of its high volume and diversity, this type of machine data goes beyond the ability of traditional information management systems, such as business intelligence and data warehouse tools. Even if they could easily gather these data, they lack the ability to analyze the data in any usable, actionable way. This greater perspective on machine data is called “operational intelligence,” but what exactly does that term mean?
What Is Operational Intelligence?
Although businesses take in a great deal of data that are structured, much more of the data are unstructured or semi-structured and have a time stamp associated with them. This is true of machine data, for instance, and a host of other data sources that come from internal and external sources. These sources can include Web servers, applications, machines, on-premises applications, and software-as-a-service systems of all types.
In addition, there are Web clickstreams, radio-frequency identification and GPS readings, call logs, RSS feeds, social media comments, weather data, fleet locators, the logs, machine data created by technologies inside and outside of the enterprise, and much more. Adding to these data are other sources of information, like watch lists, asset directories, customer data, shipping and logistics data, and Web-based feeds—like real-time stock feeds, travel-reservation data, and popular searches.
Operational intelligence is the ability to gather, correlate, and use all of these disparate data to:
- Reveal important patterns
- Gain deeper insights
- Reduce the time to detect important events
- Leverage live feeds and historical data to understand what is happening
- Identify anomalies and make effective decisions
- Quickly deploy a solution and deliver the flexibility needed now and in the future
Every type of data generated, including security, business and supply chain process, production, customer/end user, and social media interaction, can be logically correlated to deliver deep insights that can vastly improve business decisions. The time aspects of data in operational intelligence systems enable a business to:
- See what is happening now
- Compare it to past events
- Make accurate decisions in the present and projections for the future
Operational intelligence provides insights into the business via data from internal and external sources that are different from business intelligence and all available analytics tools. The beauty is that the two data-gathering approaches can work together to provide a much deeper and more nuanced picture of the business where actionable information can be identified. One of the leading technologies for obtaining operational intelligence is called Splunk, but what does it do, and what do businesses and CIOs need to know about it?
5 Things to Know About Splunk
#1: What is Splunk, and What Does It Do?
In short, achieving operational intelligence requires machine data platform technologies like Splunk to collect, index, and harness machine data generated by any IT system and infrastructure. That means any and all types of data, whether they’re physical, virtual, or in the cloud.
Its sole purpose is to makes sense of machine data to support business goals. Splunk gives you a real-time understanding of what’s happening and deep analysis of what’s happened across your IT systems and technology infrastructure so that you can make informed decisions.
#2: How Does Splunk Accomplish Its Mission?
Splunk accomplishes this by universally indexing any machine data across the infrastructure. It consumes network traffic and app server logs, and it tracks hypervisors and GPS, as well as social media activity. It even absorbs PBX and IP telephony data. By providing users an index of all the machine data generated by all systems and infrastructure, Splunk users can pose questions and quickly receive answers to simple or complex strategy propositions.
#3: What Areas Can Splunk Impact?
- Within the areas of security, compliance, and fraud, it can enable faster incident response by monitoring and correlating data on a deeper level across data sources in real time. It can also conduct statistical analysis for advance pattern detection and threat defense.
- Unify monitoring across IT silos to pinpoint and resolve problems and improve uptime, infrastructure service relationships, and reporting on service-level agreements and service provider fulfillment.
- Provide end-to-end visibility across distributed applications and infrastructures to isolate and troubleshoot problems and improve/gain insights on application and mobile app performance.
- Collect data from devices, control systems, sensors, SCADA, mobile and handheld point-of-sale devices, and more to monitor operations, analyze usage, and integrate these insights into an end-to-end view of your business operations.
- Improve customer services, as well as transaction visibility and intelligence, enabling you to identify trends and patterns in real time, and more.
#4: Is Splunk a Trusted Vendor?
Splunk was named a 2016 leader in big data management across enterprises for completeness and effectiveness of vision for security information and event management by Gartner.
#5: How Powerful is Splunk?
Splunk software is capable of analyzing multiple terabytes of data daily and running thousands of simultaneous searches every minute for real-time action.
For many businesses, the promise of actionable intelligence that improves business position, customer service and conversions, productivity, security, DevOps, cost savings, and the bottom line from big data has yet to be fulfilled. Splunk enables true operational intelligence that gives businesses the power to make the right decisions and improvements in real time.