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Disruptive IT Forces that Are Changing Business
An end-to-end IT ecosystem that will change how we do business

Today four converging IT trends are changing the IT paradigm and will forever change the way businesses communicate, collaborate, store and manage information. Each on its own would have significant impact without the others. However, combined together, they are a disruptive force.

They are:

  • Mobile devices (BYOD) are becoming a universal portal for individual access to personal and business information.
  • Social media has moved beyond its initial use case (our kids) to infiltrate businesses for data access, business collaboration, Business to Consumer and more recently Business to Business communication.
  • Information growth (volume) with rapid access (velocity) from multiple sources (variety) continues unabated and is enabling ‘Big Data' as predicted a few years ago.
  • Cloud is becoming increasingly more mainstream from a compute, data retention and access perspective, enabling global information access.

Each of these will be disruptive trends that will reshape IT and businesses. Unfortunately, as they evolve, they will also stress the IT infrastructure to be successful. For example, mobile devices in the business world will have data burst issues. Information growth has been well documented but data velocity will stress networks. Cloud is all about data costs over the networks and retention at the target.

Looking at each in detail will add perspective and provide answers to the above mentioned issues.

Mobile Devices
It's one of the most prolific trends in IT today. In fact, 75% of businesses with 2000+ employees support mobile devices (Good Technology Client Survey, 2012) with the trend predicted to broaden across the entire business spectrum. Additionally, in 2013 alone, 172 million tablets (IDC 12/2012) and 918 million smartphones (IDC 3/2013) will be shipped, adding to the existing base of employee-owned devices that most likely will merge into businesses. The driver for this phenomenon is the expansion of the business day to an "anytime, anywhere" work approach. With a 24/7 mindset access to business, data now becomes a gating factor.

Given the increasing percentage of BYOD usage in the enterprise, the data volume across the network will grow exponentially. If this trend follows the data storage growth where we see 50%+ growth annually, we will have two costs in rapid growth. Each of these can cripple existing IT budgets on their own, but both together are sure to consume IT budget dollars and run into budget deficits. Optimizing the data (compression and/or deduplication) will enable reduction of data volume and the associated costs of network traffic.

Social Media
Whether it is Twitter, which generates over 340 million tweets daily, Facebook, or LinkedIn (which has now more than 225 million users), the uniqueness of social media is its immediacy. Once it is created, it is exchanged instantly. From a communication perspective this is its value. In addition, social media created the "community" context enabling members of a group to instantly communicate.

Social media growth is partly responsible for rampant data growth. Initially the business to consumer interactions occurred with brand communities. More recently, business to business interactions are occurring, enabling business information exchanges on products, technical comparisons, blogs and video blogs just to mention a few use cases.

The social media impacts on businesses are the most nascent and will most likely accelerate very quickly since the generational usage of social media is filling the business world every year by the millions. In addition, existing business professionals are adapting to the social media landscape in parallel. Expect this segment to explode from an adoption perspective but also from a data creation, collaboration, business analytics and communication perspective.

Information Growth
We've all heard of the "data deluge," "information explosion" and "Big Data," but they are really trends that foreshadow the real transformational trend, which is real-time use of all that data through data analytics that can affect businesses.

The IDC Digital Universe Study (2012) predicts a 40 ZB data growth by 2020. But it's not just structured or unstructured business data we create, it's data created as "things" that communicate with each other such as building management systems and infrastructure technology, cameras, microphones and sensors used in traffic management and metropolitan security (New York, London, etc.). In fact, by 2020, 30 billion things (Gartner 2013) will be permanently connected to each other (via the Internet) with another 200 billion connected intermittently. All these devices are collecting data and building "Big Data" repositories of information about people, places, things and information.

Storing, communicating, analyzing and processing have costs that, although they are helped by Moore's Law, the data growth is outpacing storage density increments, network bandwidth capacity expansion, processor speed and I/O bandwidth improvements. And, the cost of doing business in our increasingly competitive business world will go up. The ability to minimize the data across the network and at rest is easily accomplished with data deduplication and/or compression technologies.

The predicted "Big Data Era" is upon us enabling data growth as we have never seen it. As we harness the high volume of information and analyze it in real-time, we develop a velocity of business with a variety of information that will enable "those that do" to compete more effectively with each other and "those that don't" will be kicked to the side of the business road.

The Cloud
Today cloud has become an acceptable part of the IT ecosystem and as the industry predictors foretell may, in fact, become "the most important part" of the ecosystem.

"The Cloud" is an amorphous entity few can accurately define. A huge data store, a series of service offerings, application-specific delivery entities, compute expansion engines and are private and/or public in approach. It's become "any and all" of these and in the future most likely more than these because "the cloud," as a business concept, will continue to evolve. Cloud will evolve and it will be about moving your data there, storing it, computing on it and getting your data back. All of which goes back to the mobility, social and data growth issues I've previously discussed. There will be more data, there will be more devices asking for it, there will be more "number crunching" and more predicted results than ever before. More people, places and things that are included in the IT ecosystem working in real-time.

What about the efficiency of all of this data movement, retention and processing? Remember the cloud business model is based on efficiency. Cloud provider costs are critical; they are cut down to a minimum to deliver competitive prices for their services that depend on volume with razor-thin margins to maintain their profitability. Applying data optimization technologies such as deduplication, compression and thin provisioning will help increase data efficiency for data at rest and (data optimized) replication can drive incremental network efficiency.

Summary
The IT future that enables mobile devices to be the end point in the hands of ever-available employee populations who can deliver business collaboration globally is upon us today. While we build out the cloud, most likely, some of the largest data stores ever created will deliver real-time business analytics to those employees on their mobile devices. Who, with that data and the knowledge it imparts, will be able to accelerate business cycles, deliver customer targeted responses, optimize businesses ROI through real-time data analytics and change business as we currently know it. These dramatic changes will embrace huge data volumes; deliver data velocity and data variety that will enable a change in our IT business models building the IT future that will be the basis for every successful business. One common thread is that all this IT evolution is not possible without data efficiency technology such as deduplication, compression and thin provisioning to reduce the Internet load, optimize data management, reduce storage consumption and manage processing costs that will enable an end-to-end IT ecosystem that will change how we do business.

About Wayne Salpietro
Wayne Salpietro is the director of product and social media marketing at data storage and cloud backup services provider Permabit Technology Corp. He has served in this capacity for the past six years, prior to which he held product marketing and managerial roles at CA, HP, and IBM.

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