Handling RFID and Data Explosion
TJS CEO Gabriel Nasser Speaks at Cartes 2008
Paris, 5 November 2008– How to manage the explosion of data in the recent years? How to control data while ensuring information maintains and increases value over time? How to turn the data overload into a competitive advantage instead of a strategic burden – these were some of the questions discussed by Gabriel Nasser in his presentation to Cartes 2008 in Paris yesterday.
Nasser, who speaks at the RFID world leading event for the second consecutive year, is the CEO of Dubai-based TJS, specializing in track-and-trace solutions for high-value items, using RFID technology. The company, who was a finalist in the 2006 RFID Breakthrough Awards, has realized the world’s largest RFID deployment for the jewelry industry, managing over 20 billion data records thus far.
Nasser describes RFID and sensor technologies as collection tools: they enable automatic collection of data and allow more and better data to be collected. RFID technologies provide information that gives companies better visibility of operations but, as Nasser stresses, the benefits reside in what we do with that information.
As an RFID deployment takes place in a company, data starts to flood IT departments resulting in data management issues, points out Nasser. Such issues maybe the reason for declining an RFID implementation or, if implemented, the company may not see the benefits and even consider it a burden.
At the launch of such projects, CTOs and CIOs need to have strategies in place that are ready to collect, sort and visualize this new flood of data and turn it into usable information. Then they have to be able to distribute it throughout the organization based on each department’s needs.
RFID deployments alone are not enough to bring benefits to the company, says Nasser. The real value is in the information that comes as a result of connecting operational processes to RFID systems which enable managers to make sense of their business and act upon it.
Nasser warns that large-scale RFID deployments can flood organizations with massive data volumes that can turn expected benefits into an unexpected crisis. The new sources of data bring along not only unprecedented volume but also increasingly new uses of data and infinite demand for new information.
As for managing large data volumes, Nasser recommends to start by devising a comprehensive archiving strategy and a robust replication model. Nasser also points out the importance of involving the stakeholders early and continuously while remaining flexible. The key is for information systems to remain user-driven rather than IT-enforced.
Other questions which need to be answered are: how will the data be used, what data to make available and when, how much pre-computation is required and how much can we afford. Nasser’s advice is to choose flexibility over performance to avoid bottlenecks during the early stages.
When deciding how to meet information needs, IT must solely focus on engaging requests that directly drive business strategy and support primary goals.
Nasser concludes with some rules of thumb, including:
• When unsure, use loss-less data aggregation
• Save all data now, analyze it more later
• Let the data speak, let the users decide
• Eliminate redundant data by emphasizing master data records.