Data Virtualization: Achieve Better Business Outcomes, Faster

Bob Eve, Director, Product Management
View Bob Eve’s original post on Cisco Data Center’s Blog

Data, Data Everywhere!

The challenge of making business decisions in a networked world isn’t a lack of data. It’s having data residing in multiple systems, global locations, locked away in spreadsheets, and in people’s heads.

Almost every enterprise faces this data silos challenge to a greater or lesser degree. But how businesses address it makes the difference between becoming a market leader or an “also-ran.” The fact is, better information leads to better decisions and better business outcomes. The Harvard Business Review (Big Data’s Management Revolution, October 2012) stated that data-driven companies are 5 percent more productive and 6 percent more profitable than their competitors.

Being able to easily access and use vast data stores has always been difficult. But in just the past few years, the problem has become 10 times worse. If it was just more data, then more compute and database horsepower could fix it. The bigger issues for businesses are proliferating data silos and ever-expanding distribution.

Data Virtualization to the Rescue

Industry-leading businesses are addressing the challenge with data virtualization. Data virtualization is an agile data integration approach that organizations use to:

  • Gain more insight from their data
  • Respond faster to accelerating analytics and business intelligence requirements
  • Reduce costs by 50 to 75 percent compared to data replication and consolidation approaches
  • Data virtualization abstracts data from multiple sources and transparently brings it together to give users a unified, friendly view of the data that they need.

Data Virtualization Presents a Unified View

Armed with quick and easy access to critical data, users can analyze it with their favorite business intelligence and analytic tools to drive a wide range of business outcomes. For example, they can increase customer profitability. Bring products to market faster. Reduce costs. And lower risk.

To read more about what Data Virtualization might mean to your enterprise, check out our new white paper Data Virtualization: Achieve Better Business Outcomes, Faster.

The Fourth V in Big Data

Bob Eve, Director, Product Management

View Bob Eve’s original post on Cisco Data Center’s Blog

At Cisco Live! Melbourne, I was invited to speak at the Executive Symposium to nearly 100 of Cisco’s top customers in the Australia and New Zealand region. In mytalk, Gaining Insight from the Big Data Avalanche, I covered big data business opportunities and technology challenges.

To level set at the start, I opened with a definition of big data, including the typical velocity, volume, and variety seem to be the three V’s everyone hears when it comes to big data. But then I challenged the audience to consider the fourth and in fact most important V, holding back on identifying it so the audience could consider what was missing.

After an appropriate pause, I told them the most important V was value. Value is the only reason to work on big data. This value must be seen in better business outcomes such as:

  • Higher Customer Profitability
  • Faster Time to Market
  • Reduced Cost
  • Improved Risk Management
  • Better Compliance
  • Greater Business & IT Agility

It is interesting how people get knocked off guard by the big data buzzwords. So go back to the basics. Start by getting your business case in order. Once the value to the business is understood, juggling higher data velocity, volume and/or variety becomes an engineering problem. Certainly, a new class of engineering problem, requiring new technologies and skills, but it is a fully solvable engineering problem nonetheless.

For IT, big data is as much an organizational change challenge, as a technology challenge. Practical first steps that seem to work well include:

  • Experiment with a smaller, “SWOT” team on a selected set of projects. This is a great way to introduce something new.
  • Go for some quick and easy wins, rather than boiling the ocean with large-scale initiatives. That is a proven technique for gaining momentum.
  • Implement a solution with revenue impact, such a next-best offer analytic to improve upsell performance or a predictive churn analytic that helps reduce customer defection. These high visibility projects will ease business funding challenges and improve executive visibility / sponsorship.

 

Announcing the 2013 Data Virtualization Innovative Solutions Award Winner

Making insightful usage of the growing plethora of internal data is difficult enough. But what if the business thrives and grows by developing data external to the firm, using it to sell insights to customers and to shape new products as well?  Associated challenges are even greater since each customer has different business contexts and needs. Innovation in such an environment would certainly take time, and new projects would be fraught with uncertainty, risk, and high cost.

Read More

Announcing the 2013 Data Virtualization Champion

There is an old saying: “If you want something done, give it to the busiest person you know who is qualified to do that thing.”  When I consider my experience, it seems to be true that the most reliable candidate for a task is typically the one most people go to with their requests.  Thus, that person is very busy indeed!

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The Biggest Day in Data Virtualization

Data Virtualization Day 2013 was the largest gathering of data virtualization professionals in history. With 350 attendees from over 130 organizations, this year’s attendance was 65% higher than 2012.

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When Data Virtualization Meets the Network

Most followers of data virtualization have a data management background. This is why many did not immediately understand why “a networking company” like Cisco would be interested in acquiring data virtualization market leader Composite Software.

Data Virtualization Meets the Network,” a report from analyst firm EMA does a great job exploring several of the factors behind this powerful new combination.

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Big Data Analytics – Better with Data Virtualization

Big Data Analytics Make Business Sense

Big data analytic opportunities are abundant, with business value the driver. According to the Professors Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT:

“Companies that inject big data and analytics into their operations show productivity rates and profitability that are 5% to 6% higher than those of their peers.”

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Archiving with Big Data = Better Business Results

Business Value from Mixing Current and Historical Data

Historical data is now an essential tool for businesses as they struggle to meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, manage risk and perform predictive analytics that help improve business decisions.And while recent data may be available in from operational systems and some summarized historical data available in the data warehouse, the traditional practice of archiving older, detail-level data offsite on tape makes business analytics challenging, if not impossible, because the historical information needed is simply unavailable.

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Counting Down to Data Virtualization Day 2013

Take Big Advantage of Your Data with Composite and Cisco

Today, the difference between business leaders and also-rans is how well they leverage their data.
And with big data and cloud causing data to be more distributed than ever, world-class data virtualization and networking technology have become critical to this success.

With the acquisition of Composite Software, only Cisco provides this powerful combination.

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Forrester Information Fabric 3.0 – A Fresh Take on Data Virtualization

On the Data Virtualization Vanguard

Forrester’s Mike Gilpin and Noel Yuhanna have been on the vanguard of data virtualization since their January 9, 2006 report trends report, “Information Fabric: Enterprise Data Virtualization.”

Their new report, “Forrester Information Fabric 3.0, Forrester’s Reference Architecture For Enterprise Data Virtualization” was published on August 8, 2013.

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