“Big data” has been the buzz in enterprise computing for the past year or two, and many senior IT executives are grappling with the challenges of storing, understanding, and drawing intelligence from ever-growing pools of data.
In an effort to gauge how the information leader can best assay the landscape for 2013, Discover Performance asked Autonomy chief architect Fernando Lucini for his take on big data. The upshot, he says, is that CIOs and information management leaders aren’t as interested in the “big data” label, as they are in specific responses to specific challenges and opportunities.
Q: Has the enterprise come to grips with the information explosion yet?
Fernando Lucini: I talk to very knowledgeable CIOs on this topic, and there’s a great divide between the ones who completely understand and those who don’t… [If] they get it, they can take action. If they don’t, then they’ll continue to wait, see what happens, see what their peers are doing, and when they understand, then they can take action.
Any large enterprise, you have most of your knowledge in email, and that’s a monstrous repository of data that’s constantly in motion. You’ve got people dumping stuff in there—you don’t even know where to start. You’ve got audio and video coming out your ears, and now there’s BYOD, which means dealing with information in transit.
Q: How does a CIO or a VP of information management find those opportunities and innovations?
FL: It’s not easy. If you ask a CIO, “How much opportunity to innovate are you losing because you don’t have the data?”—They’ll look at you like, “Of course I can’t answer that. Why are you here?” What you can do is have a method to bring more information to the surface.
Q: So the value of mastering all that data is in finding new opportunities?
FL: There’s also efficiency. You know that the moment you have more than two groups of, say, five people, you will duplicate effort. Any CIO—anybody in their right mind at any creative entity—will know this. If we have two or three groups working on similar themes, they don’t tend to talk to each other, and information is lost.
Q: In 2013, the CIO is going to have a lot of fires to put out, and a lot of trends being heralded in the marketplace. Why should information management top the list?
FL: Think of your information management as an operating system for information, in the broadest sense of “operating system” as something that gives you a service on top of something. If you have this information operating system in place, it can be there when you’re dealing with risk, with governance, with the value of information you’re delivering to the customer. It’s there when you’re dealing with “tearing down silos,” or dealing with mobile or BYOD. If you deal with the information at the beginning instead of at the end, it’s easier to work with all these other issues.
Q: How are the best IT leaders tackling the issue?
FL: Rather than seeking whether they “have big data,” CIOs are saying, “What aspects of big data technologies can solve my problem?” One area we’re working with a lot is email systems, files, sharepoints—CIOs are becoming more cognizant that these systems hold key information for their users, and they’re big and moving quick.
For more on Autonomy’s approach to mastering—and finding meaning and value in—structured and unstructured data, visit autonomy.com.
The current Discover Performance newsletter (from which this post was adapted) investigates the top IT trends for the coming year. Sign up today to receive the newsletter and learn how you can turn IT performance into business success.