Managing the Big Data, Cloud and Mobile Surge
Big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) – along with cloud and mobile — promise to deliver a range of impressive benefits and capabilities to enterprises. However, enterprises are still trying to figure out the value of these new technology approaches.
Those are the key points I raised in my recent opening keynote at the Collaborate 2016 event in Las Vegas, hosted by the three primary independent Oracle user groups – Quest International Users Group, Oracle Applications User Group (OAUG) and Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG). (IOUG members are Oracle Database managers, OAUG is the user group for Oracle E-Business Suite users, and Quest consists of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards users.)
In the keynote, I previewed the results of a survey I helped design and analyze across the three user groups, conducted as part of my work with Unisphere Research/Information Today, Inc. The concerns of survey respondents reflected key issues that should be of no surprise to anyone. When it comes to adopting cloud computing, two-thirds of enterprise managers worry about cloud security, and another 51% cite a potential loss of control over their application or database operations. Another one-third say going to cloud solutions means a major migration effort, which is always an unpleasant event for everyone concerned.
Still, we were also able to spot some additional, underlying, more personal concerns when it comes to going to cloud. Namely, close to half of respondents said they don’t feel they have the right skills — either personally or among staff — to effectively design and implement cloud-based strategies. Plus, many managers and professionals — even though user group members tend to be the cream of the crop — report simply being overwhelmed by all the technology developments and choices swirling around them. Forty-four percent admit they simply can’t keep up with new trends, and that’s making it tough to move forward with cloud. Another 40% say there isn’t enough training being provided to help with this.
One-third of managers and professionals say their roles and responsibilities are expanding as a result of the proliferation of cloud computing in their organizations. The only catch is they’re not being provided more resources and support to carry things forward.
IT and data managers are taking a cautious approach to big data and the Internet of Things. Twenty-two percent report at least some of their enterprise data is in the cloud, with about seven percent planning to move to cloud. Only six percent, however, indicate they are working with IoT data at the enterprise level, with six percent planning to work with IoT.
The following are steps that IT and data managers can take to promote the advancement of their enterprises in this emerging technology environment:
Education, education, education. Business leaders need to be educated on how these technology cornerstones will deliver results in a hyper-competitive global economy, while staff and line employees need to have skills refreshes and awareness of how these new tools and platforms will enrich their jobs, and elevate their roles within their enterprises.
Watch the skills gap. Employee training, as well as proactive recruiting is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity to compete. This can be addressed in many ways, including encouraging active participation in user groups, which provide training and networking opportunities to share knowledge.
Hold vendors accountable—and partner closely with them. Leading vendors have been in the forefront of the digital economy. However, with any vendor, it’s key to be aware of any possible limitations, as well as the terms set forth in contracts and service-level agreements. Collaborate with other users to keep tabs on what’s going on—and hold their feet to the fire when necessary.
Prepare for leadership roles in your organizations. Increasingly, the roles of these managers and professionals are being elevated—from caretakers or coders to that of consultants and advisors to the business. IT and data management is evolving into business management, with an important seat at the executive table.