The Government-ization of IT. #bigdata

As we in the private sector fawn over the opportunity that is Big Data, details about PRISM give me the feeling that we’re likely the butt of many jokes in the Government Sector. As we waffle over the applicability of big data, PRISM proves that we really didn’t start the fire – the government has been mastering this for a long time and at a scale and breadth of real use cases that are 100X of what the private sector considers to be “big”.

Three take aways: Fast, Slow, Scale.

1. Fast: The Government proved that it’s far more methodical and focused about analyzing big data. Regardless of where you stand on the appropriateness of this initiative, the government has been able to get tiny insights from big data sets to thwart attacks on US interests.

2. Slow: I’ve loved Porsches ever since I was a kid. Not because they are fast but because they have the best brakes in the industry. Confidence in your brakes truly tells you how fast you really can go. Not only have governments been able to use big data, large-scale censorship of big social data during the uprising in the Middle East and more regularly in China shows they can successfully analyze and throttle big data just as easily.

3. Scale: Clearly, big data cloud infrastructure is way ahead of the applicability of big data. In a convoluted way, that’s a good thing and PRISM has proved the need for large scale, near real-time consumption and analytics of big data. It shows that the plumbing in place can support a wide variety and volume of data sets. That said, whether its raw transactional, messaging or social data, one thing is for sure: Localized data centers will become more important than ever. And it’s not just about the US vs. the rest of the world as this ZDNet article suggests. Now we hear that PRISM-type programs extend far beyond the US.  Individual European countries looking to buy cloud based platforms and applications will demand far more granularity when it comes to data center foot print(s). This will have a significant impact on both competitive dynamics between cloud providers as well as cloud economics and operating margins.  As I told my pal Bertrand Duperrin, “she who has local data centers, wins.” And so if your cloud infrastructure provider doesn’t have the needed footprint and economies of scale to absorb the cost of that footprint, you as a customer will see it hit your books.

In the application space, we’ve been so focused on Consumerization of IT. It’s clear now, that when it comes to big data, the benchmark is Governmentization of IT.


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