Integrating Big Data into Business Processes and Enterprise Systems

By Robin Reddick, Sr. Solutions Marketing Manager, BMC Software

With the rise of Big Data, a data-driven approach to business is transforming the enterprise. Companies today are thinking about and using data in many new ways to drive business value, from reducing risk and fraud in the financial sector to bringing new pharmaceuticals to market more quickly at a higher level of efficacy. Big Data can mean different things to different organizations, but one theme remains constant: Big Data calls for a new way of thinking about technology—one focused squarely on business outcomes.

To enable the creation of a data-driven organization, IT needs to implement Big Data technologies into the enterprise environment. As companies scramble to come up to speed on both the technology and practice of Big Data, Hadoop has emerged as a lynchpin technology, providing a framework for storing and processing the vast data sets involved in Big Data. Hadoop has quickly grown into a huge market, reflecting a fundamental shift in the way businesses use data.

As support for Big Data has evolved and matured, though, it has become clear that Hadoop isn’t the whole story. While unquestionably vital, Hadoop interacts with and depends on other essential enterprise components. IT can’t afford to think of Hadoop as an island or silo, as many solution vendors initially did. From the earliest stages of Big Data initiatives, it’s critical to understand where Hadoop instances are, what they look like, and the business services they support—even if they haven’t been fully operationalized yet.


The key is to think of Big Data in terms of the business services it can power. A foundational concept for today’s enterprise IT, business services are capabilities that IT delivers to the business and its customers to accomplish specific goals. By aligning technology with business operations, business services make IT services more easily consumable to address important business cases. Customer-facing business services range from online banking and e-commerce to flight and shipment tracking. Within the enterprise, business services include automated inventory replenishment, fleet management, automated couponing, and many other tasks. Business services also help organizations reduce risk by identifying potential fraud or non-compliance, especially in the financial services market.

While this insight is key for any business service implementation, the nature of Big Data projects makes it especially important, as they typically involve a more complex application architecture. This results in part from the way mobile devices and apps are changing the way people use data and services. Instead of relying on an all-purpose application or navigating a portal full of menus, enterprise and consumer users want a more personalized experience that addresses their specific needs. Businesses have responded by introducing a plethora of narrowly focused micro-apps, overturning the traditional one-to-one relationships among user sets, applications, and databases.

IT must now maintain a back end that supports multiple apps with overlapping data sets, where any given app may be susceptible to event-driven usage spikes, such as heavy traffic on ecommerce sites during the holiday season or high demand on flight status and booking apps during a major storm. To ensure consistent service levels while optimizing utilization and controlling costs, IT must move beyond traditional silo-based architectures and implement a scalable, flexible data cloud that includes not just Big Data, but also transactional systems and relational database management systems (RDBMS).

The central role of business services in today’s enterprises, and the more complex architecture through which they are delivered, make it essential to manage Big Data solutions from a business perspective. IT needs to manage components and services according to the business services they support, focusing on business objectives and benefit, and prioritize resources and activities according to the needs of the business. In this way, IT can ensure optimal service for internal and external customers, more effective support for business goals, and greater efficiency in the allocation of resources.

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Robin Reddick, Sr. Solutions Marketing Manager, BMC Software
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