March 22, 2016
By Paul Barker
Late last year, Dell released a study that found companies investing in cloud, mobility, security and big data are growing upwards of 50% faster than those who had decided to give it a miss.
It is a telling statistic, according to Shawn Rogers, the company’s chief research officer of big data and analytics, who spoke at a recent event in Toronto organized by Dell Canada.
“The new way of handling information and coupling it with advanced analytics to do work that we couldn’t or didn’t do before, allows us to transform our businesses and allows us to do things that we didn’t find very practical in the past.
“You don’t have to be a monstrous enterprise company to get added value and added competitive advantage and optimization for your business out of big data. It doesn’t have to be zettabytes or pettabytes or exabytes to qualify as big data. We have this opportunity to transform and change the way we run our businesses.”
The transformation also extends to medical institutions. According to Rogers, the surgical team at the University of Iowa has reduced surgical site infections by 58%, while decreasing the cost of care, using big data analytics.
Data required for analysis included information from electronic medical records and data from the operating room, in order to determine whether a patient is susceptible to such an infection.
“We have this opportunity to transform and change the way we run our businesses,” he said. “It’s all about the ability to user your data assets in a way that you were not using it before in order to get the edge.”
Analytics are important, but so too is integration, added Rogers: “If you do follow my advice or give into the pressures, you are going to have more platforms than you have in the past and you are going to have to have a more sophisticated approach to how you integrate data and manage your data.
“Data management and data integration are two really big pieces of the pie. And last, but not least, you need to have an infrastructure that is flexible enough to handle all of these new pressures. A lot of our traditional environments are very rigid and they tend to break when we want to innovate.
“Data is the new currency. Invest wisely.”
Kevin Peesker, president of Dell Canada, told the Toronto audience that currently, the “three big data barriers” are lack of alignment between business and IT, resource constraints and a siloed data environment.
He referenced another recent study that found that 32% of respondents have budget limitations around data analysis 75% lack analytics tools, 73% cannot get business units to break down the silos and share information and 75% do not understand where to focus the big data investment.
Once those obstacles are overcome, Peesker said the use of data analytics can put an organization on a path to greater progress and economic growth by uncovering and acting on insights and opportunities hidden in data, connecting teams with the right analytics tools and optimizing the storage and management
He described data analytics as a “business organizational mechanism by which business advances itself in the way it addresses new markets.
“The first genome took 15 year and $3 billion to map,” said Peesker. “Today, it costs about $1,000 and takes four days. Within five years, it will cost $100.”
Other speakers included David Senf, program vice president of the infrastructure solutions group at IDC Canada.
The research firm has found that currently one in six of organizations are involved in big data in some way shape or form.
“In one year, one third will be experimenting with it,” Senf said. “Those are your peers, they are your competitors.
“There is a huge amount of growth in big data because it is getting easier and easier to do. When you talk about the volume of data, the more data you have the better. Why? Because you are getting better resolution into whatever problem you are trying to solve.
“It is great to experiment, but we need to think about what we are doing on premise vs. off premise and bring those things together. The more you think about the broader architecture that helps big data, it will help other parts of the organization and the better off you will be overall.”
Big data, he said can tackle many issues: “Why did this customer leave my organization, why did they stop using my brand, why did this product break, why did this machinery not work or whatever the problem is you are trying to solve?”