Data without borders

November 18, 2019

Data and computing are under constant disruption. Walls that existed for decades are coming down. Organizations are filled with brilliant people that are wrangling data to solve various use cases. We have invested heavily in tools and software products that are in a constant state of change and evolution. Still, borders exist. Borders represent rigidity and barriers to success. What borders will we have to face to meet the needs of our business partners? How do we escape the Data Science Iron Triangle? What is after “The Cloud?” Data and information are the currency of the modern world, so we must face the following challenges while balancing the hype.

Border: More than big data and more than descriptive analytics.

Ten years ago, big data was a phenomenon that caught the computing world by storm. Many organizations went out and bought new technologies and started accumulating data. The high-tech marketing engine was in full affect, but what happened? We hardly hear about the four V’s anymore: variety, velocity, volume, and veracity. These were great ways to describe the big data movement, but they weren’t high value use cases. Organizations wanted real life use cases beyond data accumulation and descriptive analytics. Descriptive analytics were excellent at showing us trends, performance, and dashboards. They told us what happened, but this was not enough; it was a border. What we really wanted was to know why something happened and what would happen next. Even further, we really want to know what action to take next and the data to defend that voyage. So, we were introduced to data science.

Border: Tear down the wall! The data science wall.

Soon after the big data movement, organizations started hearing about data science. Data science is the application of mathematics, data, and statistics to solve problems. Data science introduced a new border. This border is called ‘The Data Science Iron Triangle.’ There are three things that make up the Data Science Iron Triangle: information technology, data science, and the business. They are all walled up. The goal is to tear down the walls between them for an organization to be successful. These walls are obvious: IT is the incumbent and data science is the new kid on the block. Definite trust issues. Data science speaks a language and the business speaks another. Again, trust issues. They stay together because one can’t exist without the other. Organizations that figure out how to tear down the walls of the Data Science Iron Triangle will thrive.

Border: What is after ‘the cloud’: Micro Data Centers

Everyone is talking about the cloud like it is the answer to all our problems and ambitions. Is the cloud going to fix all our technical challenges and save the organization tons of money? Maybe, but let’s be clear: Just because you move parts, or all, of your data center into the cloud does not mean that you will manage resources better or save money. You still must be smart. Today, many organizations are moving to the cloud; but cloud or not, our IT borders are going to shrink. You have heard the expression: “The world is getting smaller?” Nothing could be more accurate when describing what is happening. Yes, I am talking about the ‘Post Cloud World.’ The world where you move your data center back within your walls. “WHAT? Never!” The future of enterprise computing is the Micro Data Center, a data center that fits inside a one-centimeter cube. Don’t believe it? Well, you hold a device in your hand right now that is the size of your TV remote control. It is a movie theater, music hall, shopping center, telephone, and has access to the internet. As the borders shrink, so will the data center.

The one thing we can all count on is hype. Good or bad, making intelligent computing decisions is paramount for organizations seeking an advantage in a postmodern commercial world. The hype of big data has evolved and many of the organizations that provided tools are no longer in existence. Data science is promising, but only if we can all work together to innovate. Many organizations are moving to the cloud, but do not be surprised if it all comes home again in the shape of a pair of dice. Things in our everyday life will be deployed and broken down in real time based on need and the laws of supply and demand. The one thing that is certain is that the walls that define our borders will be torn down.

About the Author
John Thuma, Data Solutions Group FIS
John ThumaData Solutions Group FIS

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