In this first post of 2015, I’d like share with you some of my observations regarding two key trends that are becoming increasingly important to our customers and team here at RAY ALLEN. These trends are convergence and Big Data, important topics that observers of the IT industry all-too-often mistakenly treat as clichés.
So, what exactly is the significance of these terms and their trends?
In the technology world, convergence is easy to define in the abstract. When two or more technologies that evolve and eventually interlink while moving towards accomplishing similar functions, there is convergence. A prime example of technological convergence is different forms of media, such as video games, movies and music all becoming available on a single device. This concept applied to our specific area of work in the IT field could be, for example, the trends from voice and internet to data and the related technologies that continue to converge with ongoing changes and improvements. Convergence often results in disruptive innovations across categories, resulting in significant industry impacts and changes.
Big data is more difficult to narrow down with precision. It’s usually defined as large data sets that aren’t easily handled through traditional analysis methods – oftentimes because the data itself isn’t structured in a way that is easily manipulated and understood. For example, let’s say you’ve been given several terabytes of random consumer information. It contains names, addresses, survey data about their last five shopping trips, and maybe some travel habits. The problem is all the data comes from different places – some is from web surveys, some from in store transaction data mining, and still other information is from mobile browsing habits. Much of this data is in different formats. Could you easily extract purchasing habits and market new products toward those habits? The answer is probably no, unless you have the specialized tools for it. Now imagine a data set that is representative across the globe of your IT network, and therein lies the challenge and opportunity.
So what does this all mean?
Where Big Data and your IT departments converge is the collection, storage and manipulation of this data. As mentioned, collection typically arrives through multiple sources. For storage, you’ll have SAN’s and their management interfaces to worry about. Once that is taken care of, we can move to analyzing the data to search for useful patterns. Given that Big Data can refer to data sets reaching into the exabytes, this becomes a daunting challenge.
Partnering with vendors that care about your success is a key element to handling Big Data gracefully and competitively. One such prepared vendor is Cisco, whose UCS Integrated Structure for Big Data is built to accommodate the exponential growth of data produced by consumers. Since there is no turnkey solution for Big Data (yet), the wise IT professional will have quite a bit of setup and configuration to get their infrastructure ready.
Our teams at RAY ALLEN work with data across your enterprise and networks to provide the best recommendations and data points for your operations and procurement teams for decisions related to both today and tomorrow’s business, bringing a full solution (and peace of mind) to such challenges facing enterprises today.
It’s not a fad
Big Data, though not always easily defined, is here to stay. The abundance of mobile devices, not to mention the incoming Internet of Things (more on that in a later article), ensure we create more data about ourselves every day. Where consumers previously produced a total exabyte of data per year, they’re now doing it within days. Keep your company prepared to collect that information, store it, and use it to provide better service to both your clients and shareholders.
Thanks for reading. I welcome you to contact me on Twitter at @toddring or comment below, and if you’d like to chat further, my knowledgeable team can be contacted anytime at email@example.com.
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