Big Data: A Big Part of Our Business
CSC is no stranger to data. We’ve worked with and managed all forms of information since our beginnings. Data has been a core discipline of what we do as an IT provider and this body of work and its offerings in the business intelligence (BI) space is growing exponentially.
We provide all the traditional business intelligence offerings along with a broad range of cutting-edge business metrics and predictive analytics solutions. CSC employs 2,900 BI consultants across the globe, and we work closely with top technology vendors such as IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, and SAP.
Our portfolio of BI services includes customer intelligence, corporate performance management, content management, and BI strategy development. Our Master Data Management solution, for example, tackles “Big Data” by using an innovative approach to integrate common systems across an enterprise. The ultimate goal: to convert large volumes of data into meaningful information.
More than ever, companies are interested in the metrics and analytics that not only serve as business performance indicators of past performance but also predict what is likely to occur in the future.
“You have to generate business intelligence with an industry in mind,” explains Bert Lasley, managing director for CSC’s Global Information Management practice. “We are creating industry based solutions in the BI space that our clients find meet their business needs. And we’re developing the processes and organizational components for clients that enable rapid response to ever-changing indicators and predictors.”
Our experience in Big Data includes High-Performance Computing, Chemical, Energy, Natural Resources, Insurance, and Health Services work.
Before data became a key business issue, there were those whose needs already surpassed average demands for computing power — scientists who study the earth and space, engineers who develop new concepts for flight, and other innovators who traditionally work on the edge of discovery.
CSC has a long history of supporting organizations that push boundaries. Twelve years ago, we established our High Performance Computing Center of Excellence (HPC COE), giving researchers and massive number crunchers a place to obtain solutions to their extreme computing challenges.
Today, the center operates high-performance systems that together have a capability that exceeds one petaflop of data and manages more than 43 petabytes of data for clients such as NASA, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Alabama Supercomputer Authority, Procter & Gamble, and Gulfstream. It has employees in Beavercreek, Ohio; Greenbelt, Md.; Sunnyvale, Calif.; and Vicksburg, Miss.; and later this year will open an innovation center in Huntsville, Ala.
“We have significant high-performance computing expertise in science and engineering applications for industries like space sciences, climate modeling, weather prediction, oil and gas, and consumer products manufacturing,” says Donna Klecka, HPC COE director.
Today, the center offers a variety of services including solutions architecture, staff augmentation, outsourcing, and systems operations, maintenance, and integration. Its specialists have experience using a diverse range of equipment, including hardware made by SGI, IBM, HP, Oracle, and Dell.
Chemical, Energy and Natural Resources
Talking about data can be as exciting as talking about mud — unless you’re living at the bottom of a fire-torched hill on the third day of a torrential rain storm. Today more than ever, companies and their IT managers are finding themselves at the bottom of that hill, watching as their organizations fill with increasing pools of data.
However, some savvy ones are looking at building enterprise collection and interpretation capabilities where experts and decision makers can pluck nuggets from the waters and use them to improve both their bottom and top lines.
“The challenge is getting people to think of the business opportunities around their data,” says Bob Welch, president of CSC’s Chemical, Energy, and Natural Resources Group. “Ten years ago, technology didn’t allow us to even consider this. Now we have the IT maturity to think about how data can benefit an entire enterprise.”
While an organization’s quest to generate knowledge from its data isn’t new, new stresses and drivers along with the sheer amount of data generated call for better solutions. Take the oil and gas industry, where a key challenge for companies and regulators alike is quickly getting to the data they need. In fact, when CSC and Hart Energy Publishing asked petroleum industry survey respondents last year where the greatest promise of improved productivity might appear, they said, “improved access to technical data and information are most important.”
Whether new data drivers result from a need to quickly access data during emergencies, or automate underground fleets of data spewing machinery, or gather enterprise data to promote sustainability, CSC has been creating tools for companies in the chemical, energy, and natural resources industries, including an Enterprise Compliance & Sustainability Solution and Petroleum Enterprise Intelligence Solution.
“With IT’s commoditization and virtualization, along with the introduction of delivery models like cloud, we have the ability to move past basic information capture and processing, past thinking about how to acquire data and use it within functions and processes, and now think about information delivery,” says Welch.
- Read the full story about data's impact on the Chemical, Energy and Natural Resources industry.
The healthcare industry is transforming as medical records go digital and more devices begin to record data. Managing and analyzing large data sets is becoming increasingly important.
We built Blue Health Intelligence (BHI), one of the world’s largest healthcare data warehouses, to help the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association analyze and manage data. The warehouse improves benchmarking capabilities and enables advanced predictive analytics using data from up to 40 Blue Cross Blue Shield companies. BHI contains medical and pharmacy claim data for more than 50 million people, while providing the client with a huge competitive advantage.
We are also working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute on the Post-Licensure Rapid Immunization Safety Monitoring program (PRISM). To combat the 2009-2010swine flu pandemic, the U.S. government enacted the largest mass vaccination program in recent history. With millions of people getting flu shots, it was necessary to enact a federal strategy for monitoring vaccine safety. PRISM integrates local immunization information with claims data from large health plans throughout the U.S. The program is able to monitor a large population and quickly identify any signs of adverse reactions.
“PRISM is being held out throughout the federal drug safety world as a huge success and as a model for other programs,” says Jim Van Dyke, a CSC Health Services principal. A key to the program’s success is using population-level statistics to evaluate whether diagnosis codes are medical conditions caused by the vaccine. When a potential issue is identified, in some cases, a researcher will contact physicians treating those patients to evaluate the causal linkage between the vaccine and the diagnosed medical condition. In all, more than 35 million people have been monitored.
CSC also plays a key role in a public-private partnership formed to research the best methods and technology for drug surveillance monitoring. In doing so, we helped create a first-of-its-kind common data model that standardizes healthcare information and enables a collaborative process for detecting drug safety.
As an outgrowth of our work with the Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership (OMOP), CSC offers a commercial Health Informatics Platform service that enables our customers to access a wide range of analytic tools and methods and large medical data sets. This platform reduces the cost and complexity of the research process by providing the data in common data models along with a standardized medical vocabulary.
“Based on our experience in these types of initiatives, CSC now offers a health intelligence platform and managed service that customers can use to conduct analysis using any data source and analysis method,” says Lynette Ferrara, a partner in CSC’s Health Informatics practice. “The platform comes pre-loaded with data, a full range of analytical tools and analysis methods. Customers can add their own data and analytical methods as well as conduct secure collaboration with their partners.”
In the data rich environment of an insurance company whose financial survival is based upon its ability to assess risk and exploit it for reward, insurers are making considerable investments in business intelligence.
This year, Hastings Mutual Insurance Co. licensed CSC’s Insurance Industry Data Model, which unifies multiple sources of data into a complete logical representation of data across an insurance enterprise. Michigan-based Hastings is using the model to gain detailed insights into its business operations for enhanced decision-making.
“In an increasingly competitive environment, insurers need a way to organize data to support advanced reporting and predictive analytics,” says Jeffery Schwalk, president of CSC’s Property and Casualty Insurance Division. “The Insurance Industry Data Model, which is based on CSC’s deep insurance expertise and industry best practices, organizes and unifies data in a usable form for both business and IT communities to enhance product development, distribution, risk management, business efficiency, and financial performance.”
The Insurance Industry Data Model, the foundation of CSC’s Insurance Optics family of business intelligence solutions, has 400 tables spanning more than 35 subject areas, which include 7,000 distinct data attributes that can be bundled for licensing.
JIM BATTEY and JENNY MANGELSDORF, writers for CSC’s corporate office, contributed to this article.