The hottest technologies in the channel today are storage and backup – two products/services that essentially ensure mission-critical, archived and unstructured data can be called upon when needed. The problem with these technologies is that the data held within by them is unproductive.
In other words: Storage data costs businesses money instead of making it.
Enter Big Data. A lot is being made of the Big Data trend as vendors race products and services to market to capitalize. Some say Big Data is just a repackaging of data mining and business intelligence – and, to a certain degree, this is true. It’s also a reflection that businesses can no longer afford to allow data to sit idle.
Processing data is already big business. According to Deloitte, total enterprise software sales this year will top $270 billion, with approximately one-quarter of those sales going to Big Data, enterprise resource management and business intelligence.
The goal of Big Data is relatively simple: refine the mountains of nonproductive, non-revenue-producing data sitting in warm and cold storage to divine business trends, uncover new opportunities and drive greater levels of sales. Moreover, Big Data is about reducing risk, allowing business managers to better understand their operating environment and make smarter, more accurate business decisions.
Solution providers may think Big Data is reserved for large enterprises, academic institutions and government agencies. Today, that assumption may be true. However, vendors including IBM, Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp. are pushing business analytics and Big Data further down market with appliances and applications that make easy work of processing data and churning out actionable intelligence.
Big Data is big business. The market is on the leading edge of the Big Data wave, which has the potential of being bigger than cloud computing in its scope and impact. In the channel, Big Data will have a profound impact on product sales, professional services and value propositions. Here are five Big Data trends that will drive the technology and services sales through the channel over the next decade:
1. Data consolidation, reorganization and cleansing as a gateway
Before anyone can crunch numbers and analyze data, they must have the right data and know where it lives. Sounds reasonable, right? Unfortunately, storage data looks like the piles of newspapers and empty boxes on an episode of “Hoarders.” The path to Big Data sales in the channel starts with helping businesses identify where data is, eliminate redundancy, optimize file systems and ensure analysis applications know where to find information. If there is no data, there is no analysis.
2. Hardware sales will lead the channel in Big Data
As counter-intuitive as it seems, Big Data will likely drive more hardware sales at first. Analyzing high volumes of unstructured data is a matter of processing power, storage capacity and I/O speeds. Solution providers will likely find businesses – particularly enterprises – hungry for high-performance appliances or clustered servers that can handle the Big Data load. Even if Big Data is delivered as a cloud service, it will require a lot of new hardware for running all those analytical workloads.
3. Storage and business intelligence will merge
Storage and backup vendors love talking about their capacity, information protection and utilization performance. Storage is about capacity and management efficiency, after all. Storage and backup vendors and cloud file-sharing services are developing strategies for collaborating with or providing Big Data products and services. They recognize data can no longer sit still and are planning to leverage their trusted position as the providers of the repositories that will be the foundation of the next generation of Big Data. This will dramatically change the composition and nature of storage vendors and their channel programs.
4. Security demands will increase with Big Data growth
True Big Data in the era of clouds and distributed enterprises will require opening data stores to an increasing number of internal constituents, applications, hosted resources and third-party specialists. With so many people and automated resources touching data, security risks and vulnerabilities will skyrocket. Demand for Big Data-related security that provides access control, authentication, data encryption, intrusion prevention, auditing and regulatory compliance will grow in parallel. Already, demand for security technologies is increasing with the growth of cloud computing. In coming years, Big Data will evolve into a catalyst for security technologies and professional support that will push the security market above $100 million.
5. Business management “-as-a-service”
Big Data is about business and, more specifically, management – and, as former GE CEO Jack Welch is famously misquoted as saying, “If it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed.” Big Data is about more than measuring, but completing predictive analytics for better performance. The skills and ability of enterprises to perform such activities within their own stable is limited. Today, they’re investing in analysts and quantitative specialists. Tomorrow, they will turn to their IT solution providers for technology and analytics. Solution providers who develop professional services that deliver Big Data and all the promises of predictive analytics and reduced operating risk will find a lucrative business market over the next decade.
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