The Art of the Possible

This blog is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, All Data, All Uses: How Data and Operational Intelligence Drive Public Sector Mission Success. Download the full guide here.

Machine generated data is one of the fastest growing and complex areas of big data. It’s also one of the most valuable, containing a definitive record of all user transactions, customer behavior, machine behavior, security threats, fraudulent activity and more.

More than ever before, the public sector faces a vast quantity of machine-generated data. But until now, agencies weren’t able to extract value and meaning from that data. It sat untapped, unrealized and unhelpful to agencies and the citizens they serve.

Enter Splunk. Splunk is the engine for machine-generated data, making data easy to collect, store, search and report on. All kinds of data, once too diverse or expensive to gather, is now actionable.

To learn more about the capabilities possible with Splunk’s solutions, GovLoop sat down with Adilson Jardim, area vice president for sales engineering in Splunk’s Public Sector division. Jardim discussed the concepts of collecting data once and using it multiple times, and envisioning a world where Operational Intelligence enables agency officials to dream big and do more.

“First and foremost, how we help the public sector is understanding that there is a vast majority of machine generated data, that agencies struggled to extract value and meaning from,” Jardim said. “With our technology, agencies are able to evaluate within the context of their operational environments, within the context of their business and mission, what this mission data means, and what value it holds.”

“Holistically, what we’re doing is adding a new lens to the operational environments of our customers and helping them solve problems or understand the environments that they’re operating,” Jardim said. “We can give visibility into that data, and we’re able to add and enrich the data to provide analytics and visibility into business processes that was missing.”

As Jardim pointed out, that has been a perpetual problem for public sector customers who have needed to adopt many technologies to keep pace with technological development and emerging agency needs.

“At this point, you may not be entirely sure what’s in your environment,” he said. “There’s so much to keep up with. Splunk helps by providing visibility to all of the information generate by the systems and applications allowing customers to assess operating rhythms, security threats and even user patterns. Things like data center consolidation or optimization efficiencies are very hard to achieve when you’re struggling to enumerate the problem to begin with. Federal initiatives like CDM are fashioned around this exact need to enumerate and secure the IT infrastructure in as reliable a way as possible. Splunk helps you to do that.”

This sort of visibility, insight, & information leads into what Splunk refers to as the art of the possible — the capabilities to turn pure, huge amounts of data into real-life visualizations & impact.

“When you think of machine data, you probably have this image of lots of bytes and streaming data, a lot of text,” Jardim said. “When we talk about this, we’re talking about textual data.” But Jardim suggested you put abstract data in a reallife instance – for example, the machine data that is generated during the act of registering students at a high school or university. With the advent of mobile technologies and IP enabled access, users are able to interact with this registration in a multitude of ways, making it increasingly difficult to understand the user experience during the registration process.

But if you can ultimately aggregate, present and visualize the experience in real time, you can then use predictive abilities on it — meaning you know when you might need to add another server to your process or create efficiencies around registration. This then means that more students can select the classes they want, and complete registration more efficiently.

“When we start to look at the business process, and not just the operational side, not just system logs and cyber logs, but actually looking at how we enhance and improve a process for these agencies, then we start to see cost savings, we start to see efficiency, and better citizen services,” Jardim concluded. “That’s really what we define as the art of the possible with what Splunk can do.”

Download the full guide here.

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