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Big Data Nation DC: Think Differently

It was a beautiful morning in our nation’s capital as I arrived at the Marriott Metro Center for the latest stop on the MarkLogic Big Data Nation tour. This event was specially focused on Big Data challenges and solutions for government. Steve Cooper, former CIO of DHS and FAA, gave the keynote talk and told attendees that government and industry need to adopt a different way of thinking and working together to solve these challenges.

Steve pointed out that government needs new infrastructure as well as new toolsets to get actionable information out of Big Data, as well as to support mobility and cloud services – which all need to be developed while still sustaining current mission operations. Quite a challenge, indeed! Some of the other things he touched on in his very interactive session were concerns for privacy and security, the huge growth in data over the past few years – especially video, uses of predictive analytics, and the question, of course, of who pays for all of this?

Though the whole talk was great – as Steve’s presentations always are – my favorite parts were:

  • His recommendation to government to stop writing SOWs with technical specifications, and rather to focus on objectives/business outcomes, and give industry an opportunity to weigh in on new ways to solve a problem
  • His mention of MarkLogic as a technology that can effectively handle the 3V’s (volume, variety, and velocity) of Big Data that are overwhelming legacy technologies!

The rest of the morning was devoted to presentations on ways to address the types of Big Data challenges Steve outlined in the keynote. Our own Chief Architect Ken Krupa traveled down from MarkLogic’s NYC office to talk about “The Art of the Possible” and highlight the capabilities of MarkLogic. He talked about a number of examples of how government and commercial organizations are using it today, and also gave the audience a sneak peek at some of the capabilities we’re releasing next!

Will Lawrence from CodeFry showed how MarkLogic was deployed as part of a system that helps a government agency (who had to remain anonymous, surprise surprise) to gather, aggregate, vet, deconflict, and share high-velocity, high-variety, unanticipated data to create a Common Operating Picture with user-configurable dashboards. I thought it was pretty cool when he mentioned that one of their technical users created an acronym-lookup widget using MarkLogic – in a single afternoon (and I’d really like to get a hold of that widget, as new government acronyms seem to pop up every day!). Will has done some presentations at MarkLogic events in the past, and it’s always fun to see what new things he’s come up with.

Finally, we got to hear about the “2-second Advantage” that TIBCO is delivering to organizations like DHS and others. Atif Chaughtai made the analogy to what goes on when you’re driving – a data warehouse equals past events, like those you see in your rearview mirror, while BI tools give you current information like your car’s dashboard indicators do (how fast are you driving? is your check engine light on?). TIBCO is focused on helping customers identify what’s around the curve in the road, and working with MarkLogic on a Big Data analytics “Event Server” solution that lets users anticipate and act on information in real-time.

It was a good thing the room wasn’t booked for anything immediately following the event, as a number of folks stayed for a while to talk with the speakers and ask questions that couldn’t be fit in during the regular session!

Only one stop left on the Big Data Nation tour – it’s been quite a whirlwind. A variety of really interesting discussions and perspectives, and great use cases from our amazing MarkLogic customers and partners. Hope we’re doing this again next year and I can make it to more of the events!

As Senior Director, Solutions Marketing at MarkLogic, Alicia is responsible for market messaging and content development for solutions across MarkLogic's verticals (Public Sector, Healthcare, Media, Financial Services, Retail, Energy, Insurance, etc.). Prior to joining MarkLogic, she held a variety of marketing and product management roles at software companies in the public sector, security, and healthcare markets.

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