I saw this slide the other day presented by one of our Chief Architects, he was discussing how the relative importance of Infrastructure, Applications and Data has changed over time and how this will continue to change into the future, it made me realise very clearly that as the bubbles grow and shrink so does the importance of the conversation.
Generational Shift in Data Value and Management Over Time
While the phases are not distinct, this process and trend are absolutely correct.
Back in the days of Infrastructure it was great to discuss Infrastructure and there were plenty of people willing to hear about your sprocket and how it was better than the next persons widget; ours is faster, larger, has more ports, more features.
As this phase declined, it took with it many companies that didn’t make the transition to the new conversation. Companies we assumed would be around for a long time.
But I guess when you’ve had a solid business for years, accepting change and trying to get the people inside your organisation to change is difficult. Some companies made the transition and changed, but many didn’t.
The next phase was about applications and how they created better value for our organisations and did it significantly faster. Some of these applications we wanted to run ourselves, while others were much better being delivered to us as a service. This allowed us to focus on how to run and manage our business and to find new revenue opportunities and for the stuff you keep? oh yea you’ll need something to run it on.
As we move forward, the discussion is increasingly about Data. What data do we have, what new data should we collect, where can we collect data from, how do we use data to create new value based upon it.
We still are in discussion about the applications that will enable us to do this, and our infrastructure conversation now includes the cloud. But as the conversation has shifted, our needs have shifted as well. We need solutions that are simpler. We need to find ways to run things with far fewer people. Because it all comes back to focusing our efforts toward creating new ways to deliver compelling services to our customers
So how does this play out?
Let’s take something simple such as navigation, I’m sure many of you reading this will remember having your road atlas in the car, one of the tools of the trade for the road warrior.
Then we saw the move toward digital navigation, These were websites that would plot the optimum route for us that we would print out and have lying on the floor of our cars for weeks.
As we saw the development of web and mobile Navigation and we saw the rise of companies providing little custom GPS units that we stuck to the windscreens of our cars. They were selling infrastructure and applications and look at what’s happened to their business models. Why would you buy a GPS when it’s now either built into your car, or you can simply install an app on your phone.
The companies that could provide the maps with the best and quickest updates had a jump on their competitors.
Step in the Data Visionaries. This movement has led to applications being delivered in entirely new ways, with data coming from not hundreds of sources but in realtime from hundreds of thousands of people using the application.
If you’re in a traffic jam, tell the app and everyone is now aware of it, Accident? tell the app. The number of applications required to support this model is huge and the quantity of data being provided in real time is staggering.
This truly is a significant move toward what it means to be digital. And in order for your company to make this move you have to simplify and modernise what you have. You also have to consider how far into the Cloud you want to go. The Cloud provides the means to get the resources you need to be able to progress.
And you have to consider how to build a Next Generation Data Centre that uses technology designed to support thousands of applications, and capable of collecting millions of data points. Which enables you to focus on the business outcomes you want to create from data.
It’s this future that has driven the evolution of NetApp
Data Visionaries are wanted and needed to support Digital Transformation and to enable the full potential of what companies need to become for the future.