Digital Transformation Starts With the Data Platform


If you’re not prioritizing the decision on where all that data will be stored when designing services and applications there is a very real possibility the solution deployed will not have the longevity you seek.

At the heart of digital transformation is a new currency that digital disruptors are already transacting in: data.

Each digital transaction can be mapped, whether it’s the data communicated back and forth between the business and the customer, or the data flowing across an internal process, this information is the foundation for a new richer experience that just wasn’t possible in the legacy offline world.  The insights that can be gleaned from this data help to refine the service and deliver additional value.

For this reason, building a strong central data management strategy is one of the most critical decisions that you will make. Do you keep the data on-premises or move it to the cloud? How do you build for the future when technology is changing so quickly? Can you keep data portable and under your control? And should you migrate existing applications? These are the questions that will keep you up at night.

From my customer interactions, the pattern unstructured data follows is clear. There are three unstructured data types:

  • File– from traditional or second platform sources
  • Object from web and mobile or third platform
  • Stream from devices and sensors in the interconnected world of IoT. Storing and protecting the data from all three sources is vital to driving continued business success.

As I’ve noted previously these three data types are unlikely to converge in the short term, due to the need to tune performance for each use case. However, it is essential that the data move seamlessly across these data types to support digital transformation and simplify management. This is a capability we are focused on enabling our customers with key products in our unstructured data portfolio: Isilon and ECS. At this year’s Dell EMC World, we also offered a preview of Project Nautilus, a new software-defined solution for storing and analyzing high volumes of streaming IoT data. When designed to work together, customers can get massive value from connecting these different sources of data, eliminate copies of data creating sizeable ROI from the IT investments.

Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as simply selecting a file type and a location for that file to be stored and starting to code. The days of credit card swipe and go shadow IT are gone. Great attention must be placed to how we want that data to be treated, how long it will be useful to us, and how the applications will consume it to succeed at an Enterprise level. To be effective data platforms must offer portability and support a variety of consumption models in order to provide the flexibility you need to design the digital experiences that can differentiate your services in the market.

Invest in the right data platform and you will enjoy maximum agility and unlock insights hidden in your data. Invest in the wrong one and you’ll be spending your time integrating, managing, and eventually replacing.

In the coming months, we will go deeper into these topics and discussing our unstructured data portfolio.

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