V is for Velocity: A First Look at Fast Data

Oracle Fast Data Product Marketing Team

To understand fast data, one must first look at one of the most compelling new breakthroughs in data management: big data. Oracle believes that big data solutions address the challenge today’s businesses are facing when it comes to managing the increasing volume, velocity, variety of all data - not just data within the organization but also about the organization. Little has been talked about velocity [or real-time] when it comes to big data. Velocity is about the ability to process large volumes of data in real-time and make decisions in a more rapid fashion to create value from highly-perishable, high-volumes of data in business operations.

This is where fast data comes in. Fast data is a term that was coined recently by Ovum’s Tony Baer who wrote, “Fast data, the velocity side of big data, is not new, but technology price/performance trends are making fast data applications more widely available”. 

Fast data is a complimentary approach to big data for managing large quantities of “in-flight” data that helps organizations get a jump on those business-critical decisions. Fast data is the continuous access and processing of events and data in real-time for the purposes of gaining instant awareness and instant action.

Every business wants to be smarter about how they do business. Velocity is a critical component to achieving this end goal. By capturing data faster and moving it faster means being able to analyze it and act on it faster. Today more and more organizations are demanding the elimination of event-to-action latency as part of solving a business problem. In today’s fast paced world, data loses value at a faster rate and consequently the value you get from your data diminishes when you don’t tap into it soon enough.

The following are four key value drivers that we’re seeing from leveraging fast data solutions:

Building new services: Ability to process highly-dynamic data efficiently provides broader insight into customers and allows companies to offer differentiated services or products that were not possible before. For example, by collecting and analyzing real-time information and using geo-spatial technologies an organization can provide location based offers to their customers.

Improving customer experience: By leveraging the latest customer information-- including most recent contacts across all customer touch-points, support issues, and operational data— companies can offer real-time personalized service at every customer interaction. In addition to delivering great service when customers contact the company, innovative companies focus on preventing customer issues by predicting and proactively coming up with solutions before even customers notice the issue or contact the company.  For example, some telecommunication providers detect network issues in real time and if an outage is inevitable they contact the customers right away and inform when it will be fixed.

Increasing operational efficiencies: Ability to process highly-dynamic data in a rapid fashion brings advanced optimization opportunities across the business, such as in asset utilization, workforce management, or inventory management. For example, by analyzing RFID data in their warehouse in real time companies can automatically order the items that are in low supply instead of risking outages or storing more than needed.

Developing higher quality in operations: Fast data expands the breadth of data analysis and delivers great predictability and visibility which enable higher quality in business operations. For example, an airline can improve accuracy in luggage loading or, predict mechanical issues in advance and take necessary actions immediately to avoid major delays.

While the term Fast data might be new; it’s a set of mature ideas and technologies around the rapid processing of events and high volumes of data for improved analytical insights. It’s recently been impacted by the explosion in volume and variety of data [big data]; the ubiquitous nature of devices and internet of things, and ultimately the heightened expectations of customers. No longer do we see fast data in only financial stock exchanges or limited to Hadoop based deployments; but it’s becoming more and more pervasive across industries as companies are recognizing the need to run their businesses in real-time.

For more information, go to our Oracle Fast Data or follow us on twitter #OracleFastData

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