Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why in Business driven information its the consumers view that matters

When doing the Business Data Lake pieces it took me back to a view that I had around SOA in that you should take the consumers view when designing a service.  This I think is more critical when looking at analytics and reporting where it really is all about the consumption.

What does this mean though to think about data from the consumers perspective?  We've all had the '3 V's' shoved at us and mostly realised the one that counts in Big Data is actually value.  So taking a Business SOA look at data means that you need to think about the business view and crucially the business value to understand what this actually means.

To this I'd say there are three ways that you can measure whether something is business driven or not
  1. The Natural View - is the view on information being presented one that is naturally understandable by a given part of the business
  2. Value based cost - does the cost being charged reflect the value being delivered
  3. Dynamic Performance - ramp-up, ramp-down as the demand requires
These come back to a mantra I used a lot back when I was talking about the true impact of SOA on an IT estate: Create an IT estate that looks like the business, evolves like the business and is costed based on the business value it delivers.

With SOA in the operational sense this meant having a clear Business Service Architecture and that thinking now applies to Data.  There is no difference between the business views and KPIs between the operational and post-transactional world, indeed the more that analytics becomes the difference in operations the less that difference can be tolerated.

The difference however is in how information is accessed.  In the operational world when you want information from another domain you request it on demand.  In the post transactional world however this is about providing access to the landed (stored) information from other areas in the context that a given domain wants to see it.  Its here that new technologies add value as they enable that distillation to be done into the right business context, indeed enabling the same information to be distilled by different business areas in the right way for their context.

This is the same as you do in the operational space, requesting information from another business service and then converting the result into what makes sense in your local context.

By having a single consistent model between both the operational and post-transactional world you make integrating analytics much easier as you are not requiring your consumers to mentally shift between an operational view and the local view.

So as with a business service architecture which represents the business model so now that business consumer view should be reflected in your analytical applications to create a single model for IT that spans both operations and analytics and now gives the business that local view, the natural view for them, of information.

Now to the other two pieces: Value based Cost and Dynamic Performance.  These two are linked as value is not something that is fixed over time, closing the books is something where high performance is justified at a quarter end or other accounting deadline, but having a high performance solution when not required is wasted cost.

Therefore the new generation of solutions are about Elastic Analytics, that is analytics which can adapt and change based on the business demand.  There needs to be an end to the 'I think I might need in memory so I'll put it all in-memory' or worse the 'Damn I had it all on disk and now I need in-memory'.

The future is about Analytics aligned to the business not aligned to an idealised IT view.

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