Manufacturing’s Interest in Real Time Driving Big Data Adoption

Loraine Lawson
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The Hadoop Challenge for Business Intelligence and Analytics Users

Leveraging Big Data for operational analytics is generating more interest these days, despite integration concerns. Companies are always looking for ways to reduce operational expenses, and Big Data promises to help.

A recent SCM World report, “The Digital Factory: Game-Changing Technologies That Will Transform Manufacturing Industry,” asked 200 manufacturers around the globe about Big Data and other new technologies. The report is available to clients only, but Forbes recently shared some key findings.

The survey revealed that 49 percent see advanced analytics as a way to “reduce operational costs and utilize assets efficiently,” Forbes notes. It’s telling, too, that only 4 percent said they saw no use case for Big Data analytics in their future.

Big Data is paying off for Intel, the piece notes. The chip manufacturer saved $3 million in manufacturing costs by using Big Data analytics for preventative analysis on a single manufacturing line. The company expects to expand that project and save an additional $30 million in the next few years.


For the rest of those surveyed, Big Data ranked as the second most disruptive technology for manufacturing operations, behind mobile technologies and applications but ahead of advanced robotics. That said, other disruptive technologies on the list — including the Internet of Things — will most likely require Big Data analytics as a support technology.

When it comes to Big Data, manufacturers are mostly interested in real-time applications. The top three use cases:

  • Real-time factory performance: 57 percent
  • Real-time planning, such as MRP and factory scheduling, 53 percent
  • Real-time supply chain performance analysis: 42 percent

Big Data also topped the list of five technologies that will most affect the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) Models’ five Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of reliability, responsiveness, agility, costs and asset utilization, Forbes reports.

Along a similar vein, a survey released this week by integration vendor SnapLogic, along with research firm TechValidate, shows that 40 percent out of 100 IT leaders surveyed cited operational analytics as a driver for Big Data investments. That’s behind customer analytics (52 percent), which should be expected given marketing’s gleeful embrace of Big Data. Thirty-eight percent cited data-driven products and services for the Internet of Things.

Big Data

Since SnapLogic is an integration vendor, the survey did ask specifically about Big Data integration and how Big Data fits in with other IT systems. The answers, though, reveal more about IT uncertainty than Big Data technologies.

For instance, when asked how IT will ingest and integrate Big Data, 52 percent said, “It’s too soon to say.” Another 34 percent gave the rather vague response, “new technologies.” Fifteen percent answered existing ETL/ELT tools.

When asked how Big Data investments will work with existing data management infrastructure in the next three to five years, “too soon to say” once again received a 52 percent response, with 39 percent saying “complement it as much as possible.”

Seventy-eight percent didn’t know which Hadoop distribution to use and 81 percent didn’t know which Hadoop tools they would use.

While they may not know what they will buy, IT leaders are shopping. The report found that analytics (43 percent) and integration (42 percent) tools top their shopping lists, SnapLogic reports. If you’d like to read more, a lovely infographic summarizes the findings. I’ve also pinned graphs from both surveys to my Data about Data Pinterest board.

Loraine Lawson is a veteran technology reporter and blogger. She currently writes the Integration blog for IT Business Edge, which covers all aspects of integration technology, including data governance and best practices. She has also covered IT/Business Alignment and IT Security for IT Business Edge. Before becoming a freelance writer, Lawson worked at TechRepublic as a site editor and writer, covering mobile, IT management, IT security and other technology trends. Previously, she was a webmaster at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and a newspaper journalist. Follow Lawson at Google+ and on Twitter.



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