The whole point of collecting massive amounts of information using data management frameworks such as Hadoop is to make better decisions. Platforms such as Hadoop make it a lot less expensive to collect that data, but the real return on investment on building those platforms only comes when applications start making use of that data.
That's starting to happen as software vendors such as Pegasystems add support for Apache Hadoop. According to Dr. Rob Walker, vice president of decision management and analytics for Pegasystems, Hadoop support allows the predictive analytics engine embedded in the company's business process management (BPM) framework to use all that data to inform business users about what the next best action to take is based on all the available information.
That's important, says Walker, because as companies shift towards more customer-centric approaches to managing their business, they are looking for frameworks to manage their business processes that can actually predict customer behavior.
As IT organizations increasingly think in terms of business processes rather than individual applications, interest in BPM has been rising. The combination of BPM and advanced analytics tools that have ready access to massive amounts of data creates intriguing possibilities that could serve to automate any number of business functions.
Of course, many business executives have been reluctant to attempt to automate many of the processes for fear that the data those decisions are being made on is either incorrect or incomplete. But as the volume of data for those decisions increases, the confidence in those decisions increases because the level of extrapolation being made based on the available data is significantly less.
It'll be interesting to see what impact Big Data ultimately has on BPM adoption, because if Walker is right, the speed at which businesses compete with each other is about to dramatically increase.