One of the most exciting aspects of Big Data is that it is facilitating a revolution within business by enabling what were previously seen just as the basic tools of the infrastructure, and just part of the cost of doing business, to become significant assets capable of transforming the business.
An excellent example of this capability is Purview from Extreme Networks. Only a few years ago networks were seen just as the wires that connected a business together, and over which things passed, and any monitoring was purely at the level of checking that, operationally, all was running smoothly. But with the revolution that cheaper, more cost effective, technology has brought with a tool like Purview it is now possible to harvest real business-changing insights from the traffic, opening up new understanding of what the traffic over the network represents, to both the user and the provider of the network.
Purview is described by Extreme Networks as being a network-powered analytics suite. What it does is to sit on top of the network, (and it's open so this is not proprietary technology) and harvest the data that is present in the constant flow across the network, and present it in a single business-oriented dashboard, which comes with the full slice and dice, and then drill down capability, of a true analytics solution.
As use cases they can point to bodies such as the New England Patriots (the American Football team), Klinikum Darmstadt (a German health care organisation) and the University of New Hampshire. What these organisations are finding is that by understanding who is doing what, with which apps, and when they are doing it, it is possible to evolve the business, to enhance the user experience—be they a football fan, a health care worker or a student.
At the New England Patriots, the data is being used to augment the game experience, to combat the threat of being able to watch the game at home with all of the augmentation that the television channels can bring to the game viewing experience to make going to the game still the ultimate experience. Indeed, so successful have Extreme been in working with the New England Patriots that they are now the official Wi-Fi analytics provider for the NFL, including the vital Super Bowl coverage.
For Klinikum Darmstadt the understanding of who is doing what has enabled management to really improve the experience that their employees have when using the applications that support their business activity, and that improved experience translates directly into improved productivity.
For the students at the University it means providing the students with the insight required to enable them to understand the actions and behaviours that will assist them to maximise value from the educational experience and, as a result, this in turn results in vastly improved student retention for the University.
These are only the early indications of how powerful better insight into how we use the network can be, as we live in an ever more linked-up online world. The ability to actually have empirical evidence to support the understanding of who uses what, and how they see things, becomes critical when online presence becomes the most significant element of the experience of consumers and workers in their day to day actions.
The technology that Extreme is providing is very powerful, extremely intuitive. It scales and comes with much of the functionality ready to run out of the box. It can be used in conjunction with many of the tools that I have already identified as key players in the business exploitation of operational analytics such as Splunk.
So if you are competing in the online world, and need to know about critical elements like response times, who is using what apps, what resources are being used, and how can that understanding help to make your offering as attractive as possible, Purview looks like a winning combination of capabilities.