Fueling Operational Efficiency with Big Data

Big data seems to be fueling everything lately. From Ancestry.com, which maintains over 4 petabytes of content and DNA processing, to Fallingfruit.org, which (I kid you not) gets data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other databases and aggregates everything onto an interactive map that informs users which neighborhood fruit trees might be dropping fruit.

Now that you have a basket of apples (courtesy of big data) to share with your newfound DNA-matched family members, you can get serious about big data and the ways it can increase production, improve processes, and make your business operations more efficient.


Sashi Reddi, Vice President and General Manager of CSC’s Big Data and Analytics group, talks of the airline industry, in which sensors on a single commercial aircraft generate 20 terabytes of data an hour. In the airline industry, when a plane is grounded for scheduled maintenance, it is not making a profit. Big data enables airplanes to determine their own maintenance schedule, alerting the supply chain to ensure that the needed parts arrive at the right place, at the right time. This minimizes expensive downtime and eliminates costly unnecessary maintenance.My car recently sent me an email to let me know that it is time for an oil change.

Big data can do the same for other industries, too. How often are your business-critical assets down for maintenance? How often does a device fail without any warning? What if they could self-regulate to avoid these needless service calls? How much time would that save?

By switching from preventative maintenance to a predictive schedule that is fueled by big data, you save:

- Expense of maintenance service and unnecessary parts

- Downtime of business-critical assets

- Personnel time dealing with service contractors and overseeing repairs


According to SAP, “enterprises are embracing the mobile revolution as they explore new ways mobile devices can improve operational efficiency and employee productivity.” A Gartner survey found that 61% of CIOs plan to enhance their mobility capability during the next three years, and 48% believe they will become leaders in their industries by fully adopting innovative mobility solutions.

By using big data analytics on mobile devices, business processes increase in efficiency.

For example, businesses interested in optimizing energy efficiency can now use the PowerRadarÔ app on their mobile devices. By using their mobile devices to monitor, measure, and understand electrical energy consumption from the multi-site level to an individual device level, managers can be quicker to make decisions and correct energy waste, equipment irregularities, or other inefficiencies.

Asset Optimization

Big data enables companies to maximize the utilization of assets. When data is monitored at the device level, assets can be optimized based on that data. According to IBM, This can result in:

- Better asset productivity

- Greater lifetime value for each operational asset

- Extended asset lifespan with minimized asset downtime

- Increased ease of data collection and analysis

- Reduced cost of computing, network, and storage technology

Big data agility fuels operational efficiency

Today’s business processes must be agile. Managers must be able to quickly change course in response to changing trends. Doing so requires real-time access to the data that enables decision-making. It can no longer be acceptable to base decisions on month-end utility statements, or partial energy monitoring data. However, armed with real-time device level data, accessible from anywhere and at any time, managers can make quick decisions in response to real conditions of their critical systems or production processes.

These quick decisions are the fuel that powers lean operations and efficiency.

It may not be DNA code or falling citrus, but the fuel of big data may be more efficiently used to optimize business operational efficiency.

Originally posted on the Panoramic Power blog.