Thursday, April 25, 2024
No menu items!

How big data and storage trends will drive business in 2017

Must Read
Big data is becoming ever more important for decision-makers.
Big data is becoming ever more important for decision-makers.

One of the biggest technological shifts that happened in South Africa over the past 12 months has been the growing awareness of the importance that data and storage have within a business. Several experts weigh in their views on the trends to watch, in the sector, next year.

Big Data and digitalisation

While Big Data by itself is nothing new, the benefits to be had from more effectively analysing this data, and the actionable intelligence that this data reveals, is becoming ever more important for decision-makers.

Grant Fraser, product and marketing director at MiX Telematics (Africa), believes that Big Data will continue to be a significant change agent shaping many business sectors. “This will go beyond merely collecting data, to efficiently delivering real-time analytic processing of constantly changing data from multiple sources, interpreting this data, and providing predictive analysis in customisable reports, graphs and dashboards to support real-time business decisions,” he says.

This real-time insight represents multiple opportunities to improve efficiency, productivity and the overall performance of the business, irrespective of industry. Today’s highly digital environment is also more conducive to automatically drive data-driven solutions to office and field workers using a variety of mobile platforms.

Despite this digital evolution of businesses, one of the biggest challenges that remain, is to sift through the sheer volume of the data at its disposal. Fraser believes that one of the answers to address this lies in integrated systems on cloud-based platforms that provide a single user interface where people can get a consolidated view of their data.

“Not only does this provide a more effective birds-eye view of the overall business but it has the intrinsic benefit of enabling business decisions to be made with the most relevant information easily accessible,” he says.

Encouraging a future in data

Juan Thomas, CIO of PBT Group, says that if we consider the growth of the digital world along with the amount of data businesses find themselves dealing with today, there is also a very real need for ICT skills in managing and analysing this data – in particular, data scientist skills.

“We are already seeing businesses coming to the realisation that if used correctly, data can add significant value to the bottom line, as well as can lead to better business profitability. However, in many cases, data is often complex and disparate and as a result, requires the unique skill set of a data scientist. Using such a skill set allows for raw data to be analysed and translated into a meaningful end result for the business – a result that then gets communicated in such a way that it is understood and can be utilised to make important change or take needed action.”

Thomas highlights however that South Africa still finds itself in a rather dire situation when it comes to these needed ICT skills. The situation is further compounded by the reality that the small pool of technically skilled individuals available locally are often recruited to work overseas. The result, unfortunately, is that businesses struggle to find these specialised skills they need to leverage data effectively.

“Given that data is an important component of any business today, this reality means that more, in the way of data scientist skills development, needs to be done locally. Whether through training or developing niche support ICT programmes, South Africa needs to focus on building the skills needed to drive forward this new digital economy that businesses are operating in. 2017 and beyond will require businesses to invest in the right skills development opportunities to harness data effectively,” adds Thomas.

Software-defined storage

New skills and new models of operating are required if we are to manage the growth of data in 2017 and beyond and as such, the same can be said for traditional models of storage which are fast changing with software solutions playing a critical role in this movement.

“Enterprise data grows at 40% every year, but storage costs decline only 25% annually. With the growth of data, customers need flexible storage solutions that can handle the specific needs of their business and data without breaking the bank. IT departments are finding they need to handle growing amounts of unstructured data while still being tasked with increasing innovation and reducing costs,” says Matthew Lee, regional manager for SUSE Africa.

Software-defined storage eliminates the need for proprietary hardware and can generate savings compared to traditional arrays and appliances. It is extensively scalable from storage appliance to a cloud-based solution and portable across a myriad of providers. If we consider that storage will explode due to 50-fold growth of data between 2012 and 2020, by 2019, Gartner predicts that 70% of existing storage array products will be available as software-only versions.

“In this software environment, we are seeing open source making storage solutions more flexible, reliable, and easier to manage than before. Relying on a software-defined storage approach will make it possible to more effectively manage data rich environments with the required agility to continually cater for the growth experienced,” he says.

Internet of Things

Even though IoT was a newcomer to the technology hype cycle in 2016, Frank Rizzo, technology sector leader at KPMG, feels that the increasing use of wearable computing devices and fleet trackers will fundamentally change the way companies receive and view data.

“Even though much of this will be consumer-driven, we will be seeing more technology used to detect if something is going wrong in a production process, real-time monitoring, available in the cloud. That means CFOs anywhere in the world can follow their production lines and keep a finger on the pulse. My fear is that businesses put sensors out but do not know what to do with what they monitor,” says Rizzo.

He says that executives need to learn how to filter what is relevant.

“When describing the properties of data and analytics, experts talk about the three Vs: volume, velocity, and variety. KPMG has added two other Vs to that: value and veracity. There is also a lot of rubbish data around. As a decision-maker, you need to be asking the right questions and can test the data,” he concludes.

Staff Writer

- Advertisement -

Why Is Business Automation Essential? Unveiling 5 Reasons

What does integration and automation entail? Simply put, it is a way of connecting different apps and services within your...
Latest News
- Advertisement -

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -