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HP Software's community for IT leaders // July 2014

No limits: How Big Data changes competition

Data drives the bottom line, and technology is no longer limiting your competitors.

The bottom line

What: Data is your most strategic asset.
Why: The insights in your data must guide every business decision.
How: Optimize (or revolutionize) how you store, explore, and serve data for real insight.
More: Learn about HP Vertica Dragline.

Business technology has always been a world of give and take. The more you ask for, the longer you wait. As technology improves, we compromise less—and in the case of Big Data, we can’t afford to compromise at all.

Today’s Big Data analytics platforms are making it possible for organizations to give the business everything: all the data, from all sources, in all formats, in real time, without limits. It’s a novel idea for most organizations, but it’s in the DNA of young, agile companies. This new breed of business is killing the competition by holding technology to the highest possible standard and putting data at the top of the value pyramid.

To compete, the rest of the market will need to act urgently to change their data ideologies and reject limitations as they store and explore data, and serve analytics insights to the business.

Competing with the new natives

"Leading companies today are changing the user experience while it is happening," says HP Vertica VP Joy King. King says Twitter, as an example, is using real-time analysis of user demographics and usage trends to deploy new features and UI variations on the fly to limited "cohort" populations. The result is that people who use Twitter differently get a different experience—immediately.

Joy King
"Compare a company using that approach to a company that’s relying on a report that comes once a week or once a month," King says. "Who do you think will win?"

Data-focused businesses have rejected the concept of compromising business objectives for the sake of technology. And they’ve been able to do so way ahead of the curve because they never had to change legacy thinking or infrastructure. They were, King says, "born that way"—natively forged with a technology-first ideology and the understanding that, in the 21st century, a business’s primary strategic asset is data. As a result, they are setting a new competitive pace that will challenge everyone else to rethink the strategic value of data.

Leading with data

For organizations that weren’t "born" in the era of no-limits technology, a transformation is required. New technologies will help significantly. For example, Big Data platforms like the HP Vertica Analytics Platform are automating more of the tasks required to achieve a higher level of data value; they are also making data insights accessible to more and more businesspeople. No longer will companies have to hand-code services to deliver better data availability to the people who need it.

While such technology advances will be critical in leveling the playing field, the transition to the no-compromises ideology won’t hinge on technology alone. Rather, organizations will need to put people who recognize the transformative potential of Big Data into key leadership roles—and do it quickly.

"You have to really decide at an executive level that you recognize data as your most strategic asset," King says. "You might be tempted to say, ‘No it’s our customer relationships or speed of manufacturing,’ but when you peel those things back, it’s all in the data. Having people at the top who are laser-focused on that makes all the difference."

These leaders will not only facilitate a rapid adoption of next-generation data analytics technology, they will understand that to serve the business well, Big Data can’t be subject to yesterday’s analytics limitations.

The importance of being open

When business compromise is off the table, technology has to be as flexible as possible. King says organizations need to focus their data transformation in three areas—store, explore, and serve—and make sure technology choices don’t impose hidden limitations.

  • Store: The new standard is cost-effective storage of every data format, from every data source, without prejudice and with maximum flexibility. Hadoop is only part of the solution; enterprise requirements such as security, compliance, or speed will steer you toward different distributions. Make sure your infrastructure doesn’t force you to discriminate.
  • Explore: The data haystack may be enormous, but the people who need to sort it can’t be burdened with new tools and complexity. Organizations must support standard BI tools—or whatever the business wants to use—so people can find what they need to find wherever it is stored, even if they don’t know exactly what they’re looking for.
  • Serve: Data scientists, business analysts, and executives all put different demands on—and have very different expectations of—analytics. You need an Agile infrastructure that can serve all these populations without degrading performance or limiting presentation.

By choosing an open data management ecosystem, organizations acquire the flexibility needed to build—and change—whatever they need without limits. HP Vertica’s new Dragline release makes it possible to store, explore, and serve personalized analytics at the speed of business.

Learn more about how HP Vertica’s Dragline drives analytics transformation.


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