EMC turns the wheel on storage towards information intelligence
For a company that’s always been synonymous with storage, EMC has turned the spotlight away from pure data storage towards information intelligence. Last week, while moderating the EMC Forum in Qatar, I got to spend some time talking to Josh Kahn, Vice President Solutions Marketing Worldwide, EMC on why this makes perfect sense.
This was Kahn’s first visit to the Middle East and making a touchdown in Doha for the first time, he’s quick to churn out numbers. “Did you know Qatar has more mobile phones than people?” he said to a packed room of over 400 EMC customers.
You may ask why that might be relevant to a company that’s been a force to reckon with in the storage industry. But that’s exactly the point Kahn was trying to drive home.
“But make no mistake. EMC has certainly not forgotten about storage. In fact, we launched 42 new storage products in early 2011 – the largest range of products launched at one go company’s history. But the point is no longer about storage; It’s about data being transformed to information and then into intelligence,” he tells me.
All data is good
I also learnt from Kahn that there’s no such word as bad data in EMC’s dictionary and we as an industry can never run fast enough to catch up with the amount of information we generate. “You’re certainly going to need more and more storage to keep the data we create. EMC can help you with that. But that’s just a starting point,” he explains.
It’s clear that the next step for the company is to help its customers chart data waters by going aboard the analytics ship. Big Data get again is just another step in that direction.
“As organisations start to grow, it’s become a case of drawing intelligence from information. And this information is no longer available in one single place. What you need is architecture and then the analytics to help you trace patterns for your business,” he says.
It’s also clear at the same time, that we are being hit with information from all directions – both structured as well as unstructured. From enterprise data to content being generated on social networks and through mobile devices we are literally in an information mesh.
“Gone are the days when IT was just relegated to controlling and managing the data generated by in-house systems,” he says. Emphasising that CIOs today are in a position to help analyse this information, and seek useful patterns that can truly help the business.
Old challenges still remain, but new opportunities emerge
Although this represents a new turn in the way technology can align to the business, companies cannot turn away from their traditional challenges. “It’s not to say that the old challenges have gone away. In a survey we conducted across the region, we still found that organisations were facing issues with storage, back-up and recovery. But at the same time, enterprises also have to find a way to transform themselves by using actionable data intelliegence,” he says.
For an industry that’s most often caught in a cross fire between maintenance and showcasing value, information intelligence in my view can be IT’s much needed break to showcase its cross functional role. To enable this, as a second step to its Big Data strategy that now goes hand in hand with its cloud transformation initiatives, EMC expects to deliver through its Greenplum division a single data analytics platform to crunch structured and unstructured data.
Coupled with analytics, technology departments can now dip into the mountains of data that they have spread across the organisation to develop customer behavioral patterns that can now be used to drive business innovation. To me, that also seems like IT can finally take on a more marketing focused role, to deliver tangible information intelligence that can be used at even at a departmental level.
Interestingly, this also forms the crux of EMC’s shift to drive transformation in new ways. Under the theme of ‘Transform: IT, Business and Yourself’, EMC has now personalised its transformation message to talk to address every individual in in the enterprise touched by technology, making transformation a collective organisational responsibility.
Following a whirlwind roadshow across the globe with this message, GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK 2012 will see this technology major talk business transformation in the UAE as well. The time for change it appears, is now! Get ready for transformation.