Why your big data collection is failing

Dark dataThe world’s enterprise data is doubling every two years, but for most organizations, it isn’t doing much good. One in three businesses relies on incomplete or unreliable data, and only 4 percent are using best practices to get the most out of their data.

Unfortunately, most data uncertainty comes from simple mistakes business owners don’t realize they’re making. Data can be immensely helpful, but left unchecked, human error can turn a data lake into a swamp and render your data useless. Continue Reading…

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The playbook to stopping dark data

dark-data-managementLurking in every data center is an unseen enemy: dark data. This unstructured data causes surging storage costs and exposes organizations to a variety of risks.

Win the fight against dark data by developing an information governance program. This plan identifies what dark data exists, how different departments manage data, and when it can be archived and destroyed.

Let’s review the steps organizations must take to create an information governance framework, and learn how organizations can successfully execute it. Continue Reading…

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Here’s why unstructured data is putting your organization at risk

dark dataBig data seduces us with potential. Industries from retail to health care collect untold terabytes of data in hopes of finding correlations and connections that drive sales and improve patient health.

But beneath the depths lies dark data, or data whose value hasn’t yet been identified. We’re talking about documents, images, PDFs, videos, and other data that often aren’t work related, include sensitive information, or duplicate files many times over.

Many organizations do the right thing by regularly backing up their data (everything from email servers to file shares to individual user folders), but this process amasses tons of unnecessary unstructured data. It clogs up storage arrays and hard drives, creating big bills and unknown risks.

Is your organization hoarding this kind of unstructured data without realizing it? Let’s shine a light on dark data to uncover how you can move your organization toward better storage and improved efficiency. Continue Reading…

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Diagnosing cancer and stopping crime: How big data is leaving its mark

big dataIt’s easy to get lost in big data. The terabytes of data compiled and crunched by machines and programs offer new insights about our world. But where’s the signal? The noise? What does big data actually mean for you and me?

Big data isn’t about finding the needle in the haystack, but rather understanding the haystack, needle and all. Big data’s value lies in its useful and actionable insights, which are only as powerful as the data you’ve collected and the questions you ask of it. Understanding what the data can provide and how to use it is already earning dividends for some industries. Continue Reading…

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Don’t fall behind on implementing the Third Platform

mainframe computerThe Third Platform, the next phase of the IT revolution, has arrived. While the First platform was the mainframe computer and the Second was built on servers and PCs, the Third Platform is a puzzle of new technologies — social networking, cloud services, and big data analytics — run on mobile devices.

Industry analysts and researchers have noted the impact of these technologies on business. This “Nexus of Forces” is the new platform for digital business, and is transforming how businesses interact with their customers.

Business requires innovation to survive. Simply maintaining “business as usual” threatens even the largest, most established brands. The Third Platform offers the innovation organizations need in four main components – mobile, social media, the cloud, and big data — all of which are spurring growth, strengthening relationships, and improving competitiveness. IT departments, whose role typically involves overseeing the legacy IT resources, and executives planning for the future will need to fully embrace these ideas in order to stay relevant. Continue Reading…

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4 pieces of advice about business intelligence

business intelligenceReturn on investment, gross margin, and labor costs are business metrics that every small business owner and C-suite executive understands. But new technologies have opened access to an exponentially larger number of data points, and business leaders are using this new information to grow sales and attract new customers.

Though the phrase big data has officially entered the business lexicon, some small and medium-sized business leaders may believe using advanced business intelligence (BI) metrics that track shopper preferences and employee productivity is an unachievable task. However, new business intelligence programs can help businesses of all sizes sort through collected data, and identify customer trends and the ebbs and flows of their business.

If you’re interested in what these BI solutions have to offer, there’s plenty to learn about new BI gathering and methods. Here are four pieces of advice for every organization interested in adopting a BI solution. Continue Reading…

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5 ways technology can increase sales for brick and mortar retailers

shopping mallThe majority of U.S. retail sales still occur in brick and mortar stores, but maybe not for long. Online shopping has drawn dollars away from big box stores, which continue to struggle to attract customers given the convenience and discounts online retailers have to offer.

The giants of e-commerce are also swaying business in their favor through ever-shifting pricing, big data analytics, and a restless approach to capitalizing on technology. But physical stores are starting to catch up, increasingly adding new technology and methods to better serve customers. While some are taking a piecemeal approach and adopting new technologies as they go, the stores that stand a chance of competing with online retailers will look to integrate solutions for a better overall customer experience.

Consider these five ways technology can get shoppers offline and back to your business. Continue Reading…

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3 roadblocks to big data ROI

big dataBig data is offering answers to everything from the best ways to treat patients in a hospital to ensuring every airline flight arrives on time. Some organizations have built their success on big data. Netflix, for example, has found wide viewership for its award-winning original series in part because its data shows exactly what its viewers want to watch. Amazon too has an uncanny ability to predict what its customers want to buy, even to the point of shipping products before they’re purchased.

The era of big data is now, and while making sense of it is one of the biggest challenges facing organizations, big data offers companies large and small a window into their business, customers, and future. Organizations that think they don’t have anything to learn from big data are letting the competition jump ahead, propelled by insights that offer a competitive advantage.

Pursuing big data initiatives can help your organization make better strategic decisions and answer the most important questions about your industry. But before jumping into big data, or even if you have already, realize that with big data collection comes potential challenges. As you pursue a big data initiative, try to avoid these three major obstacles: Continue Reading…

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SHI launches Backup as a Service to help customers manage Big Data

Big Data can offer organizations a true competitive advantage, creating new ways to enhance their dialogue with customers and partners, evaluate and improve marketing and pricing strategies, and identify new revenue opportunities. But it also creates challenges for the IT folks tasked with storing, backing up, and protecting the massive amounts of digital information.

As the amount of data grows, and organizations also deal with accelerated virtualization, regulatory compliance, strict SLAs, and shrinking backup windows, IT departments will be forced to rethink their data backup and recovery strategies.

To better help our customers navigate this environment, SHI has partnered with EMC to create a Backup as a Service (BaaS) solution. SHI Backup as a Service is an end-to-end software and hardware backup and recovery solution that’s delivered as a self or managed service.

It combines SHI’s Management and Support Services with EMC Avamar and Data Domain to provide high-speed data deduplication, predictable performance, and simple scalability. With BaaS, organizations can cut down network bandwidth issues, reduce backup time, and keep data safe at minimal cost, without upfront expenditure.

SHI BaaS provides fast, daily full backups of physical and virtual servers, desktops, laptops, enterprise applications, and network-attached storage (NAS) servers. It easily integrates with many existing environments — Oracle, NetBackup, Microsoft, and VMware, to name a few — so organizations don’t have to worry about a major process or infrastructure change.

SHI BaaS is available in several deployment models to meet the needs of every IT department: Continue Reading…

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