Making Big Data *Actionable*


We all know the 2015 buzzwords: “Big Data”, “Analytics”, “Data Lake”, “Internet of Things”. All well and good.

But for every industry and business, there’s a wise Big Data saying that goes like this:

  1. (Big) Data + Analytics = Information
  2. Information + Context = Insight
  3. Insight + Actionable Systems = Desired Outcomes

You’ll notice that in the game of Big Data, the accumulation of (valuable new technology-driven) data (about your customers, about your internal efficiencies) is only the first step.

Innovation, business competitive advantage and results, only comes out of Big Data if you have Actionable Systems that can create Desired Outcomes.

The real trick, therefore, is creating within your business, actionable systems and processes that know how to take the right accumulated insights (derived from data), and put that right data into right actions at right time.

Make sure you add this 2nd step to any of your conversations around business competitiveness in today’s hyper-rich innovation, data-rich, internet-scale environment.

In researching this short post, I could find literally millions of Big Data word clouds on Google Images. But word clouds that combine “Big Data” and “Actionable Systems” or similar? Nada. Nothing. I think there’s a message there.

Interested in learning more?  I explore this 3-step concept in more detail here in a – a fully downloadable PowerPoint presentation for you to use any way you see fit. Just give me credit as the author, and go for it for yourself.

If you’re in Southwest Florida, the Suncoast Technology Forum April 21st, 2015 Healthcare Technology Executive Panel discussion luncheon in Sarasota,“Emerging Technologies Impacting Suncoast Florida Healthcare”, is entirely about this idea of how to make data actionable. I’m the moderator, see more here.

Whether is it is healthcare or any other industry, remember:

  1. (Big) Data + Analytics = Information
  2. Information + Context = Insight
  3. Insight + Actionable Systems = Desired Outcomes

I hope you find this helpful. If you do, connect with me, find me on Twitter:

Sources: IBM is who I’ve seen as a major propagator of this concept:


John Sing, Offering Evangelist, IBM Spectrum Scale, ESS, DeepFlash


Internet Scale Architectures and Inspiration

Here’s a few of my other favorite IT industry sources that I visit for research and inspiration modern 2015-style Internet Scale architectures, hyper-paced Lean Startup methodologies, and more: :  really see what internet-scale IT architectures / technologies look like : wide variety of up-to-date technical topics

UK Register on Storage:  often bluntly refreshingly honest UK based IT website :  IT data center infrastructure

GigaOm :   this website recently shut down (commentary here) – but while it was up, it was one of the best for the leading headlights of where technology was going

Here are some overview tutorials that I’ve built for my conference speaking,  that detail various Internet-scale IT foundational concepts,  agile Lean Startup methods, digital customer journey, and other foundational concepts:

Overview of Google’s Introduction to Warehouse Scale Computing – how commodity-based enterprise IT is built, Google’s rationals.  Foundation concepts for all internet-scale IT architectures.

Big Data – a 2014 chart deck describing how Big Data fits together into today’s world

Customer Decision Journey – the foundation concepts for today’s mobile / social digital customer marketplace

Disruptive Innovation – a 2012 discussion detailing Clayton Christensen’s landmark Harvard Business School work

Lean Startup methodologies – What any business can learn from the best of today’s Silicon Valley startups –

Holistic, humanistic business perspectives that will change forever the way you approach business :  Simon Sinek, one of these talks is the 3rd most popular TED talk of all time

Finally, to get a real good sense of how far we’ve come, and how fast we’re moving…..

Watch the iconic, historic, hugely entertaining May 2007 Steve Jobs – Bill Gates panel discussion on Youtube

It was May 2007.  The iPhone had been announced but not yet delivered.  Be amazed at far we’ve come.


These are some of my classical favorites – hope these are helpful.

John Sing

Keeping current + staying ahead in today’s technology world

This is the challenge for all of us.  How to most efficiently to do this, in today’s hyper-changing 2015 business world?

Future  (Hint: social media plays a vital role).

Here’s what I try to do.  Feel free to use these ideas and share them however you wish.

I believe there’s several interlocking philosophies underlying necessary activities to keep current in today’s world, to stay ahead of the hyper-changing business and technology curve.

I think of the components this way:

1) When?    Dawn

1st thing every morning, pay yourself with  daily research to keep yourself up to date, learn what you/your business community/associates are up to… before starting the emails, before the business day begins.  Now, how to do that, efficiently?

2) How?   Community

With communitynot doing this by oneself. Most importantly, in 2015, fluently leverage the many great social media and internet tools available to us, makes this research efficient (more details on that below).  Equally, using the tools to contribute useful information back to our communities, in addition to receiving.

3) What?  Social Media  internet-world

Actively finding, cultivating, growing our own personal list of information resources and worthwhile people on internet. Some sources are worthwhile websites – but more importantly, find similar-minded, actively contributing individuals who are intelligently and thoughtfully using today’s professional online social media in your chosen industry. Look for quality Blogs and Twitter feeds with thoughtful, insightful information.  It’s a personal search, based on your preferences.   Goal: efficiently scan every morning, finding info / patterns that enhances your perspective / overall view.

4) Where to start?  Ron Riffe  Sandy Carter John Furrier Eric Herzog

Find and follow good individuals in your industry.  Watch and Learn first for a while.  Who is doing social media the way you’d like to do it?  See what they do on their Twitter, their blog. See how their material appears on social media smartphone apps.

Then, emulate as appropriate – give credit where ever possible.  Eventually, start to share, intelligently. Don’t worry, no one’s going to find you in the beginning anyway, so just start.  You learn by doing.  It will take time to figure out and build social media skills – much more time than you would think, if you are to do it intelligently – so start the journey now.  You can’t avoid the learning curve.

Tip:  Many think the value of “doing social media” is all about pushing your message out.



IMHO, necessity of being business fluent in social media in 2015, is the information received (often in real time) from your cultivated, personal list of worthwhile individuals.  I believe this is a large and rapidly increasing ingredient of staying current / staying ahead.

You also then do your part to intelligently contribute via your own social media presence and activity – thus completing the cycle and holistically contributing to others.

If you like this approach:

Here’s some individuals whose blogs and social media approaches I like / learned much from, and why:

Ron Riffe Ron Riffe:   Blog , Twitter about his company’s products is clear, well-written.  Interspersed with appropriate personal touches.  Consistent.  Graphics are clear, original.  You get good sense of Ron as a person.

Eric Herzog Eric Herzog:  hired as IBM Storage’s new VP of Marketing in Jan 2015. I believe it’s is because IBM realized they needed VP of Marketing that really gets and demonstrates what online social media marketing is – Eric is that.  See his Twitter, and his interview in Feb 2015 by SiliconAngle.TV

John Furrier John Furrier:  Silicon Valley analyst who demonstrates via this multiple channels, including his Twitter, and and SiliconAngle.TV , and new tools like Crowdchat – all demonstrating the power of online capability.  He and his colleagues started this back when “analyst reports for $1000s of dollars” was the normal business model.

Sandy Carter Sandy Carter:  one of IBM’s premier Social Evangelists.  Twitter , books , interview by TheCube

Timo Elliott Timo Elliott:   one of SAP’s premier worldwide evangelists (see his   See his excellent blog , including this post about what a modern day IT Evangelist needs to do…

There’s many more… I’d love to hear your suggestions / comments below.

You’ll also quickly find the cross-referenced people these folks like.  You’ll soon be off and running developing your own list.


Bottom line:   Wisdom of Ages

From ancient times, humans have survived.  And not because we are the fastest, strongest, biggest animals in the jungle.

It’s because we as humans have uniquely learned to work together, in communities, based on common goals and beliefs. (Simon Sinek)

Keeping current / staying ahead in today’s hyper-changing IT/business world is exactly the same dynamic – it’s a (physical and virtual) community affair.


It’s not about each of us as individuals staying ahead…. it’s about being and actively contributing, participating member of a personalized community which we choose to join.

2015 technology and social media tools have become the essential enabling toolset with which we now can do that, at internet scale, yet in personalized manner.

Developing these modern online community-based social media skills and methodologies will take time – you can’t do it overnight. IMHO, 2015 has become the year where social media fluency is no longer optional.  My 2 cents – I believe employers know this when they consider who to hire.  Customers know who they’ve heard of, and who they’ve never heard of.

I know you will personalize all this to your own beliefs, goals, and community.   I believe it’ll be time well spent.

Comments welcome.

All the best,

John Sing

Executive IT Architect, Enterprise Sales Engineer

My favorite internet sources of IT industry research

It’s not easy to keep 1000’s of daily IT industry internet-based research information and URLs organized and retrievable.   Every day, the number of URL and links I’ve felt worthwhile to save for future reference, keeps on growing and growing.  And, how to *find* them later when I need to?

To solve that, several years ago, I started using social bookmarking tools to organize and make easily keyword retrievable for myself, for any links that I found worth saving.   I currently use ; there’s many good ones out there.

The really cool thing is, if you want follow along and benefit from my daily IT industry research, all you have to do is click on this URL , or the screenshot below, and see what I’ve found today, or yesterday, or the day before, or ……    Click this screen shot to see my bookmarks:

Every link has commentary to help you decide if it’s useful to you.

Great thing is, the entries are keyword tagged (that’s how I find the link later when I look for it).   In other words, when I want find my research later, all I (or you) have to do is just append the desired keyword to the URL in the browser window.   For example, this link will show everything I’ve bookmarked and tagged with the keywords “Google” and “Apple”:,Apple

You’re welcome to use any of my links and information however you wish – it’s purposely shared publically to help you take advantage of it for your own purposes.

I hope this is helpful.

All the best,

John Sing

Looking to the Future – Together

It’s rather obvious we live in a hyper-changing world.

Adapting and thriving in today’s world is, in my humble opinion, a social affair.  No one can keep up with today’s technology by yourself.

“It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see” – Winston Churchill

Yet imagine – if you have 5, 10, 25, 50, 100s or more of your IT professional friends, all watching out for each other in terms of IT and business knowledge, happenings, developments… then we’d all not only keep up, we’d all move ahead quickly, together.   Today’s social media tools provide the mechanism to do exactly that – which is why, IMHO, that 2015 is the year in which we as individuals and as businesses, will see our digital and social media expertise, become a major differentiator.


Via this blog and it’s contents, it’s my hope to play my part in contributing to your professional IT skills, knowledge, and career success.   While I will focus on IT technology, interleaved I believe you’ll find noteworthy information about business and life as well.

Pick and choose from among the topics on this blog as you wish – if you find something of value, I trust you’ll not only benefit, you’ll also share it with your professional friends via your own social media channels … and I welcome you to return and visit here in the future.

All the best,

John Sing