Predictive IT: The Intersection of Information and IoT
What’s the key value proposition of the Internet of Things (IoT)? Companies are understandably enticed by the ability to generate and leverage real-time data from any point in their supply and manufacturing chain. But there’s another side to what IoT offers: predictive IT. Armed with the right data from the right sources, it’s possible for technology experts to predict upcoming IT issues, make necessary corrections and avoid unwanted downtime.
The Data Divide
For IT professionals, the use of data to address tech problems is nothing new. What’s changed is the amount and quality of this information. Ten years ago, companies were stuck in reactionary mode: Lacking the tools to analyze and act on real-time data, IT experts were forced to wait until software or services failed and then use the resulting data to address specific issues. The rise of big-data tools paved the way for retroactive root-cause analysis and provided businesses with the ability to track emerging issues moment to moment. This method reduces both the severity of IT problems and prevents reoccurrence.
The next step: prediction. As noted by Tech Target, this demands more effective data preparation; data sets must be pruned to eliminate noise while enhancing the signal. But companies must be wary of overpruning their data to achieve specific results. New data analysis solutions can handle increased noise and deliver quality results without forcing organizations to shoehorn in specific details.
Internet of Everything
While data from current sources forms the foundation of predictive IT, it’s the rise of IoT that empowers organizations to discover what comes next for their IT environment. Consider the success of vehicle manufacturer Caterpillar’s marine division: According to Forbes, the company is now using IoT sensors to monitor shipboard generators, GPS, air conditioning and fuel meters and then running multivariate data analysis. The result: predictive maintenance plans that save approximately $30 per hour — or $650,000 per year — while also reducing unexpected downtime.
When it comes to IoT, however, value only emerges if networks are constantly connected and transmitting information. Sudden sensor failures or internet outages effectively blind companies and make the task of prediction virtually impossible. As a result, it’s critical to employ IT support services with the knowledge and experience to handle IoT issues, design effective failure plans and limit overall failure.
Predictive IT: X Marks the Spot
So what does all this mean for IT departments? Well, there’s real potential at the intersection of IoT and existing big data that provides critical information that’s already in-stream, like website traffic, network security reports and end-user analysis. IoT adds another layer that extends beyond traditional network borders to provide unstructured, unfettered data streams from multiple sources. Combined with the right predictive tools, it’s now possible for IT teams to do more than simply react and reinforce.
Imagine a set of traditional network tools combined with IoT sensors at the periphery of cloud solutions. IT pros can see not only what’s happening internally but also what’s occurring at the edge of their influence, and they can use that data to predict incoming issues, adjust traffic flows or ramp up security. The benefits of this method are threefold: increased availability from avoiding potential issues, improved customer service thanks to effective end-user monitoring and happier C-suites given the reduced time and spend required to manage IT issues.
In the end, prediction trumps reactive IT problem-solving. Empowered by a combination of existing big data and new IoT sources, it’s possible to anticipate IT issues and reduce network strain.