I wish that I would have attended the Big Data in Higher Education Conference at SUNY last week. Harper Reed @harper, former Obama campaign CTO, was the keynote speaker and according to the Chronicle review, he told it the way it is. ‘Big Data’ is Bunk. His message highlighted how the Obama campaign utilized analytics from “Big Data” to help win the election. And it sounds like he presented how higher education could take advantage of this technology but that the vendors for “Big Data” solutions were using the term “Big” to mostly sell big computers. I agree that we don’t need huge computer resources to utilize “Big Data” analysis concepts. However, we are going to build a Big Data system that probably leans toward an In Memory model. I also realize that higher education rarely utilizes “Big Data” effectively for business or academic advantages but that is a discussion of its own.
Harper also offered some advice in another session, “Data Scientist: the Sexiest Job of the 21st Century,” which hit home for me here at Missouri S&T. We are currently building a new cross discipline program around the buzz term “Big Data”. We have our Business and Information Technology, department contributing to the client end including the tie in to ERP. We have Computer Science and Computer Engineering focusing on the infrastructure, data models, analytic algorithms, programming and visualization needed to produce the kind of data scientists that Harper said he wants to hire. This is why I came to S&T, to help a world class STEM institution create products that can help change the world.
We just released a budget review module for our iGFU mobile site. Now that may not sound that impressive, but I don’t know of any other university mobile site that can give a budget manager a live view of their budget vs expenses complete with lots of presentation bells and whistles. The real story is how easy this was to do by utilizing the existing tools provided by our PeopleSoft ERP. The key as I have mentioned before “Bragging about our Mobile Portal” is the involvement of your DBA who holds the keys to the database and in this situation a programmer willing to tap the potential of the PeopleSoft Component Interface based Web Services via PeopleTools. The web services allowed us to leverage the existing user access security structure that allowed us to manage user qualified budget access. All we then needed to do was produce the WSDL repository which is then easily accessed and presented by our mobile web portal, iGFU.
If you are interested here is the tutorial for this Budget App.