Data as the key to changing your future
Connectivity and the internet have been significant game-changers for organizations of any size, everywhere across the globe.
There’s probably no area of commerce that isn’t either underpinned or reliant on technology and data — and already, we in the technology press have been talking about “big data” for probably five or six years.
Back then, the term big data referred to the enormous data sets that were integral to large projects, often modelling-based, and usually the type of projects that were overseen by academic institutions. Genome modelling and meteorological mapping were the two go-to examples of huge datasets. Clusters and grids of computers were used to churn the numbers, and there was even a miniature “arms race” (a very geeky arms race, to be honest) between companies and nations as to who could process the most teraflops per second to predict the weather or identify inherited disease traits in genes.
But even in the last few years, advances in technology now mean that even modestly-proportioned companies and organizations have access to terabytes of data from every interaction they have with customers, partners, other networked systems, from every business function stretching from the handheld scanner in the remote warehouse to the financial modelling software in the Finance Department.
And we in the technology press are coining phrases like “the new gold”, and “unearthing insights” regarding that resource. Forward-looking organizations have already invested in staff and resources to explore their data, employing data scientists and development teams to help process the information that is now the lifeblood of the enterprise.
In practical terms, however, what do organizations need to do to start to capitalize on the information that they are gathering, a resource that’s literally growing in size by the second? Sure, for those with unlimited resources, new teams can be quickly put together, equipped with the right hardware and software, and those expensive investments will, with a little luck, begin to create the type of return on investment that their insights bring to the business’s processes and strategy.
But most companies aren’t structured to be data companies. Businesses in the private and public sectors provide services, or manufacture items, or ship goods, or provide utilities, or any other number of offerings. And although it’s eminently arguable that every business is, like it or not, a data company, most simply don’t have the wherewithal or the guidance needed to begin to mine this “new gold.”
But every business leader in any vertical will be aware that one or two of his or her competitors seem to be hitting the sweet spot more often, finding the demand for a new offering in a niche, or perhaps coming up with a product or service that really captures the market’s imagination. These individuals are sometimes heralded as visionaries by their market peers, but in many cases, it’s the data scientists (for want of a better collective noun) that are behind the insights that empowered the “visionary”.
Getting from the data silos that every organization accrues to the market-changing product isn’t as easy as plugging in a new box of tricks (complete with attractively flashing LED arrays). If it were, we’d all have one. But, there are vendors and consultants out there — three of whom we feature below — that can help companies do their own panning for gold.
The steps to undertake, whether you decide to outsource them or not, are typically as follows:
– Amalgamate. Every piece of technology either creates data or in some way, processes it. Typically that data lives in its own silo, and for every function of the business, there are often dozens of different silos. Pulling them towards each other is the first step to approach.
– Normalize. Information from a company’s CRM systems might seem to be similar, but under the hood, it can be as different as chalk and cheese. Making sure the data can be amalgamated and presented in the same format (or within a range of approved formats), and ensuring that data is not corrupted, or patchy even, is normalization.
– Processing. Which parts of the morass of information offer relevance, and correlating those choices with other types of information is a highly complex series of processes and one that now has its own specialists and specialist coding languages, applications, tools and methods. Done well, and trends become apparent, root cause analysis routines start to show what’s behind failures and successes, and what might be done to ensure better performance or fewer mistakes.
– Presentation. A string of statistics and logical statements might be virtual poetry to a qualified data expert, but to everyone else, it’s, well, just statistics. Extrapolating the information and presenting it to discrete audiences is an art, and one that the following vendors have “off pat.” And tailoring messages to a specific audience is something that requires very deep knowledge
Like cloud services that are based 100 percent on open source platforms, the option to create one’s own solutions is always there for enterprises and private sector organizations. But many find that establishing partnerships with other companies that offer those same services, and who also undertake all management and provide guidance, is by far and away the best, least time- and resource-efficient way to get results faster, and with less risk.
To that end, we would recommend contacting one (or all) of the following to see how they might be able to help your organization in its own big data journey.
If innovation and creativity are what drive your business, TIBCO is one of the more business-centric data integration and analysis companies there is. Most companies operate on a complex mixture of cloud services, applications and data centers, with edge installations, remote offices and thousands of live apps and services driving the business. TIBCO is well-versed in this reality, with various offerings that combine data from disparate sources, including live streams and different public clouds, unify that data, then apply complex, AI-powered algorithms and advanced analytics to predict outcomes.
It is from this integrative approach that TIBCO customers draw their insights, with solutions to govern, manage, process, and present huge data sets. For TIBCO, data is the transformative energy of the modern enterprise. TIBCO upholds the importance of connected intelligence, unlocking the value of real-time data and creating a competitive asset for smarter and faster decision-making.
Used by specialist data scientists and non-technical business strategists, the TIBCO portfolio can effectively connect data sources and create fast pipelines of information that supply verified data wherever it needs to be. Information can be presented in any number of ways, but always tailored to a specific audience. Data does not need to be an area of specialty, but it certainly makes businesses run. Data is a crucial differentiator for enterprises to change their present and future.
Learn more about TIBCO on the pages of Tech Wire Asia by following this link.
Because many businesses are transitioning to cloud-first, many turn to Informatica as a proven leader in enterprise cloud data management. The company places a necessary emphasis on scalability and agility, not necessarily just the ability to scale for the medium- to long-term future, but also to be able to respond to the peaks and troughs in demand and requirements that most modern enterprises experience today.
With the current worldwide effects from COVID-19, the challenges facing every sector are both rapid and were never really predicted: few had business continuity methods in place that forced a sudden sea change in markets (never mind the workforce’s working models).
But Informatica clients have had an easier transition than many enterprises, with the Informatica cloud portfolio helping to adapt, and even keep delicate customer care and support issues managed 24/7.
With 85 of the Fortune 100 companies using Informatica solutions somewhere in their IT stacks, the world’s best use the solutions to identify and explore new opportunities for growth, with foresight and the tools necessary to thrive in these changing times.
To learn about the trans-global Informatica’s portfolio of tech and services, click here to read more.
Silicon Valley’s Talend is a new breed of companies that are basing many of their tools and solutions on open source software and methodologies, but whose business case is one of management of those tools, and extending their usability and relevance for modern businesses.
In big data, API management, statistical modelling and artificial intelligence, many of the leading tools were, and remain, freely-available to any user — this reflects the area’s emergence from academic institutions, where commercial competition is of little issue to software and technology developers.
Therefore, many of Talend’s tools can be used by suitably qualified users, and many enterprises will already have staff on board, capable of doing just that.
But for the majority, however, and for many attracted by the XaaS, cloud-based, per-user pricing, the Talend feature set is an investment well worth making.
From data silo integration to data normalization and high-end AI processing and presentation of information to different stakeholders, Talend has the history and the ability o come up with the goods.
Learn more about this global company here.
*Some of the companies featured on this article are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia