A few years ago, the zettabyte wasn’t on anyone’s mind. Since then, the term has gone from being an esoteric measurement to an inevitable reality now that we’re globally producing data on an unprecedented scale, with our online activity poised to reach the zettabyte mark in the next couple of years (1 zettabyte = 1,000,000,00 terrabytes).
This explosive growth of data is impacting enterprise businesses in a variety of ways, as IT departments grapple with how to store and analyze the information they’re collecting. Companies are quickly discovering that the network designs of the past simply won’t cut it. The current data demands, and those on the horizon, are requiring that businesses take a new approach to their IT infrastructure. A new interactive infographic by IBM features insights from six industry experts and shows how putting big data to use isn’t just a matter of using the right analytics, but having the right infrastructure in place to accommodate the scale of data being gathered.
Planning a New Infrastructure and Putting It in Action
Storage, speed and system durability are primary concerns for any enterprise-level IT department, yet an infrastructure that may have been dependable in the past is quickly being outdated. Preparing for an exponentially increasing amount of data requires a plan that consists of the following essential steps: assessing your current infrastructure, devising a plan that addresses your IT needs and then using your new infrastructure to reach new levels of productivity and establish better connections with customers.
Assess Your Current Infrastructure
The first stage entails taking a thorough look at the system you have in place and examining its weaknesses. Working in partnership with the IT department can help you spot any gaps between where you are and where you need to be.
“To address gaps, you need to assess your capabilities first,” explains Louise Hemond-Wilson, Distinguished Engineer at IBM. “Then identify the gaps that most strongly support your business objectives. Very often addressing a critical gap requires first addressing something in your infrastructure. Therefore, addressing business process and IT infrastructure frequently occurs hand in hand.”
By taking steps to identify infrastructure weaknesses, you’ll lay the groundwork for a stronger means of communication and collaboration among employees, leading to more productive and efficient business operations.
Address Your IT Needs with a Plan of Action
Once you’ve identified your infrastructure’s weaknesses, the next step is devising a customized action plan for addressing them. You don’t want to go overboard and plan for capabilities you won’t need, yet you also don’t want an underperforming system that will require additional changes a year from now. Any plan should also take your entire workforce into consideration, including mobile employees who need to access data remotely. A well-orchestrated infrastructure can provide team members with the ability to collaborate from anywhere.
Whatever your circumstances, the result should be a network that’s an evolutionary step forward for your company, allowing employees to access data quickly and share information easily without delays or outages.
Impress Your Target Market with a New Campaign
The motivation behind big data analytics is to gain insights into customer behavior and possibly ascertain future purchases by examining buying patterns and trends. Following the digital trail of their online purchases, social media shares and the brands they choose to support is the closest means we have to knowing what consumers are looking for. With a dependable infrastructure, an enterprise can gather and analyze data to create a customized campaign that can make a big impression on a target audience and possibly lead to a community of brand enthusiasts.
Bruce Semple, Senior Solution Architect at IBM, emphasizes that the right infrastructure is a major factor in bridging the gap between a company’s message and its customers. “Infrastructure helps your platforms communicate, so your data moves faster and you can act on insights more quickly. That’s what moves your business forward and helps you serve customers better.”
Infrastructure Benefits: Within a Company and Beyond
For any enterprise, no matter the industry, being competitive means staying on top of new technologies to ensure your company has the right components in place to attain its business goals. With the right infrastructure, an enterprise can take advantage of what big data has to offer and turn a challenge into an opportunity. By implementing a new system that provides employees with the storage, speed and durability they need, your company will not only improve company productivity, but gain the information it needs to create a better path toward your target audience. As the amount of data being produced skyrockets, its value does as well, and an infrastructure that’s both durable and agile will allow an enterprise to harness big data’s power without being overwhelmed by it.