5 low-risk, high-reward experiments for IT

Redefine your relationship with the business with these five small-scale, forward-thinking experiments

But for IT departments looking to make the most of noncritical data, NoSQL's fast response time and scaling simplicity can prove fruitful. The tools themselves sacrifice accuracy to achieve this performance -- "eventual consistency," as it has been referred to in the NoSQL community. Anyone who has watched postings appear and disappear from Facebook will know how users of NoSQL databases, which includes Facebook, are not worried about keeping servers completely consistent.

So how can IT put these tools to use? NoSQL provides an excellent opportunity to analyze ephemeral data that often falls by the wayside. For example, many companies trash their log files after a few days because they grow unwieldy. Other data often gets tossed aside simply because it's not worth paying a hefty license fee for a serious database to deal with it.

You can start sticking this information into NoSQL tables at a fraction of the cost of top-quality database software. Throw in some latitude and longitude values, and you can start popping up maps illustrating trends.

The NoSQL experiments and the analysis thrive when the results are aimed at answering specific questions or support an agenda item outlined by the business team. Is your organization looking to expand into new regions? Then present them with a table showing log file results from that location. Is there interest in understanding whether customers use one corner of the Website or one particular Web service more than other? Tap NoSQL to aggregate this data and correlate it with your customer base.

No end to worthwhile experimentation The above ideas are baby steps that can potentially open up new pathways to revenue opportunities. None will change the fundamental way your company conducts its business, but all illustrate how a few extra features can enlarge your organization's view of its current state and future possibilities. They also show how IT can prove its mettle in leading the company forward.

Considered in combination, these small-scale, low-risk experiments show great potential -- but they are just the surface. Almost every product, tool, or technology comes with a number of extra features just waiting to be used. If IT takes stock of these undeployed options, it can find new ways to unlock the potential to transform latent revenue already flowing through its wires.

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This story, "5 low-risk, high-reward experiments for IT" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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