In our recent research report, “Big Data Impacts on IT Infrastructure and Management,” Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) surveyed 156 enterprises that were applying big data technologies to IT infrastructure monitoring data. While the research looked at how enterprises in general utilize these techniques, it took an in-depth look at how two vertical industries—manufacturing and finance (finance/banking/insurance)—were applying advanced analytics to IT infrastructure monitoring data.
IT Management Practices Supported by Big Data Techniques for IT
The manufacturing industry appears to be extremely innovative in its use of big data analytics of IT monitoring data. For instance, 65% of manufacturers in our research sample were using these technologies to support internal infrastructure planning, versus just half of all other enterprises. Sixty-five percent (65%) of manufacturers were also supporting infrastructure security with big data, versus just half of all other enterprises. Manufacturers (54%) were also more likely than other companies (44%) to use big data for service quality analysis.
One IT practice that EMA found particularly interesting was using advanced analysis of IT monitoring data to uncover business activity insights. Forty-six percent (46%) of manufacturers in this sample were gleaning business activity insights from IT monitoring data. This contrasts sharply with financial companies, of which just 24% were doing this type of business insight analysis. Among all other enterprises, 35% were doing this.
Speaking of the financial industry, these companies appear rather conservative in their use of advanced analytics on IT monitoring data. They were less likely than other companies to be supporting any IT management practice with these technologies—with two exceptions. First, they were just as likely as all other companies to use these techniques for general IT operations monitoring (56%). They were also slightly more likely (40%) to be using it for troubleshooting and diagnostics than all other companies (36%).
Areas of Innovation for Financial Firms
Despite the general conservatism noted above, there are a few areas in which financial companies tend to innovate with big data analytics for IT.
The first is DevOps. EMA asked companies to identify IT planning and engineering tasks that they support with big data analytics, and 44% of financial companies said they were supporting DevOps. Only one-quarter of all other enterprises were doing this.
One other area of innovation for financials is technical performance monitoring via big data analytics. Forty-four percent (44%) of surveyed manufacturers were using big data to measure service transaction response time, versus slightly more than one-third of all other companies. This finding makes plenty of sense, given that transaction response times have a tremendous effect on things like high-frequency trading.
Financial companies also appear to be early adopters of Hadoop. EMA asked survey respondents to identify which big data back-end platforms they used to store IT monitoring data. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of financials said they were using Apache Hadoop, the open source version of the technology. Less than half of all other types of enterprises reported using this technology.
Meanwhile, 37% of financials said they were using Hortonworks HDP, a commercial distribution of Hadoop. Less than a third of all other enterprises were using Hortonworks. These findings confirm previous research and anecdotal reports that financial institutions tend to be early adopters of Hadoop-based solutions.
The Benefits of Big Data Techniques for IT
Finally, EMA examined the overall benefits that IT organizations experienced from their use of big data analytics on IT monitoring data. Both manufacturers and financials stood out from the pack in a couple areas.
First, both manufacturers (56%) and financial companies (59%) were nearly twice as likely as other industries (31%) to experience better alignment between IT and the business via these technologies. More manufacturers (60%) and financials (59%) also reported more efficient use of infrastructure capacity than companies in all other industries (38%).