Big Data and SoLoMo Are Important, but Don't Forget That Controlling Content Is Critical

By Bryant Duhon posted 03-02-2012 18:50


EMC’s Christopher Preston talks about the convergence of social, local, mobile and Big Data. As these four trends combine to increase governance concerns, they also open tremendous opportunities to delight customers and drive workforce productivity. Chris also discusses EMC’s own lessons-learned from their internal community.

Chris is the Senior Director of Integrated Technology Strategy at EMC, where he is responsible for supporting key product and marketing initiatives across the IIG division at EMC on a worldwide basis. Preston’s industry experience spans more than 25-years in BPM, Workflow, Imaging, Content Management, Customer Communications Management, Web Customer Experience and Interactive Marketing.

Don’t miss Chris at AIIM 2012. He’ll be speaking on March 21 at 2 PM on Effective Information Governance – On the Ground and in the Clouds!

Duhon: EMC talks a lot about information governance; how do you explain that (and the idea that cloud or internal, governance is needed) to your customers?

Preston: The tremendous growth of information combined with increased regulation, makes it easy to see the incredible pressure organizations are under to reduce risk. But there is an even greater set of compliance challenges affecting organizations - driven by the demands of the New User. These “New Users” are people in the workforce who have become much more mobile, social and increasingly reliant on cloud applications to drive greater productivity and organizational responsiveness. Information no longer rests just within the 4-walls of the organization; it’s extended out to remote offices, and contractors and now SaaS-based applications. IT now faces the difficult challenge of balancing the benefits of this new choice computing model against the overriding corporate obligation to manage and protect information – regardless of its location. These issues have fundamentally changed the compliance landscape, requiring a whole new approach to the problem – looking beyond the basic repository. We call this new approach “Pervasive Governance,” and it’s essentially about managing, controlling and protecting information across 3 critical

i. The Enterprise –understanding your content (its location and importance), automating its classification and indexing and applying policies to protect it- all within the

ii. The Extended Enterprise – the ability is to audit, track and control sensitive information that’s going out to remote employees, and approved partners, contractors, suppliers,

iii. The Pervasive Enterprise – the ability to federate the policies surrounding the content as it moves to mobile devices and the cloud - so you can manage it and protect it virtually anywhere, anytime.

Duhon: What are the advantages of ECM in the cloud?

Preston: Moving ECM to the cloud will provide:

iv.      Faster time to value – accelerate application deployment

v.      Flexible compute

vi.      Reduced operational cost/overhead

With EMC OnDemand you get the additional advantages of

 i.      Zero install of EMC technology (Some ECM applications can be deployed in as little

ii.      Highest level of

iii.      Blended architecture - complete end-to-end cloud platform (including infrastructure, virtualization platform and application layer

iv.      Professional administration (aka- “Experts in a box”

v.      Easy adoption of new features and

vi.      Disaster recovery and high-

vii.      Portability

Moving ECM to the cloud enables organizations to effectively deliver a superior level of increased speed, agility, value, and performance, and will increasingly become the “new normal” for organizations and the market at large.

Duhon: What are the “challenges” or “considerations”, when moving ECM to the Cloud:

Preston: Typically customers have questions and/or concerns about:

  • Security
  • Data control and ownership – based on country data protection laws
  • Dependence on 3rd parties

However despite these concerns, our experience has been that the majority of concerns are addressed once you get into the technical details and in-depth discussion on the organization’s true information management policies and regulatory requirements.

Duhon: How important is it to have underlying content management tools to enable collaboration; whether internally, externally, or a combo of the two?

Preston: It’s extremely important to provide the management, control, and security of information. You still need to control who has access to information, knowing where content exists and the ability to get it back when you need to. A modern ECM system will automatically assign policies, such as retention and access, to document types as they are created by employees or dropped into different folders. The system needs to assure that documents are encrypted with embedded policies that ride with the document wherever it roams, and can render it useless in the wrong hands. Even more intelligent and innovative systems will hunt documents down – in remote offices, file-shares , employee laptops, and re-classify them, delete them, or move them to safety as required. This is especially important when you think about enforcing policies for situations like employee changes, changing partner relationships & roles, loss of laptops and storage media, etc. And this same level of control needs to be extended to information sitting on mobile devices, as well as in the cloud.

Duhon: What collaboration lessons has EMC learned from your own internal community?

Preston: We’ve seen the tremendous power of social and “crowd-sourcing” to enhance products, improve business processes, provide better customer support, and more effective customer relationships – ultimately leading to greater loyalty and more effective sales engagements. We approach our social engagement with the recognition that B2B communities differ from B2C social networks, and have a distinct set of challenges and approaches. In a B2B community, the company is much more welcome as an active participant, and in fact is expected to play an active role. B2B customers want to engage with their vendors and get to know the personalities behind the products, and that personal connection can be a powerful tool for winning and sustaining customer loyalty. We encourage social participation internally as a means to grow our external community, which provides support to our customers and serves as a source of product information and referrals to demand generation campaigns. Employees are encouraged to blog, tweet, and contribute content to our own community sites as well as external social channels. We’ve even seen team members compete for who gets the most page views in a month, and we’ve had success with a leader board that tracks the most popular content and the most prolific contributors for a particular segment of the community. Employee contributions ensure a steady flow of content, which attracts followers and increases external community participation and content contribution - that leads to greater customer satisfaction and more awareness of our products in the market. Employees also help to curate the content that is available on the community, which is just as important as new content, since curation is about organizing the content to make it easy to find and keeping it up to date. As a result of our strategy or employee involvement our community site has grown substantially – in the past year monthly visits have doubled from 40,000 to over 80,000. Social participation has also kept our employees in touch with customer needs, making us more responsive and agile as an organization.

Duhon: How do you describe Big Data?

Preston: Big Data that is distinguished by 3-key elements :

  • Volume/Scale – extremely large volumes of data – from gigabytes to petabytes. According to a 2011 IDC report, more than 90% of Big Data is unstructured data. It includes data sources such as http streams, sensor grid and machine generated information, but also about content and information captured from documents, conversations, workflows, images, videos, business processes and transactions, etc.
  • Variety – both structured and unstructured information from disparate sources from both inside and outside of the organization
  • Velocity – need to analyze information in real-time to generate actionable insights for the organization

Most importantly, Big Data is differentiated in its “Significance,” given its ability to transform business through strategic insight and create the “predictive” enterprise. Traditional architectures and tools cannot deliver on the Big Data opportunity. As a result, a new approach is needed and EMC has identified a simple three‐step journey to Big Data: Architect on a Big Data Infrastructure, offer Agile Analytics, and become a Predictive Enterprise. Businesses that can exploit Big Data to improve their strategy and execution will distance themselves from competitors.

Duhon: What is the Big Data opportunity for EMC? Given that you store and manage both structured and unstructured content via both software and hardware, EMC seems well-positioned to take advantage of predictive analysis and all the other things “Big Data” enables.

Preston: We see it as a tremendous opportunity, especially when you look at the intersection with what we are doing in cloud. We are leading organizations on their journey to Big Data, helping them capitalize on the Big Data opportunity to accelerate business transformation. EMC ‘s Big Data solution enables organizations to achieve unprecedented value from all their data sources, both inside and outside the organization, gaining new levels of agility, efficiency, and business breakthroughs. Our Big Data solution is architected on elastic and scale-out storage platforms, runs purpose-built analytics designed to process both structured and unstructured data, offers a collaboration environment, and business process platform that drive actionable insight. We are also seeing an opportunity to help organizations enable their analysts to be more collaborative. Big Data has led to the emergence of a new role, that of the data scientists. For data science teams to thrive, we are providing them a collaborative environment that focuses on information sharing.

Duhon: I used to kid around with things that would take a long time by saying it had the gestation period of an elephant. Hadoop is useful now, when will it mature in your best estimate?

Preston: When you take a look at the industry analyst reports, the market is still in the early stages of Hadoop adoption, but all predictions point to rapid adoption of enterprise distributions of Hadoop for use-cases outside of social networking, online media, and entertainment and online retailers to more mainstream business processes that drive even greater competitive advantage. This open source project is already being rapidly adopted in the vendor community. EMC's Hadoop offerings can be found in the Isilon and Greenplum HD product lines. Our scale-out NAS storage platform, Isilon, now natively incorporates the Hadoop File system, HDFS, in its OneFS operating system. Greenplum HD enables organizations to take advantage of Big Data analytics without the overhead and complexity of a project built from scratch. Available in a packaged software distribution as well as the Greenplum HD Data Computing Appliance Module, Greenplum HD provides a complete platform including installation, training, global support, and value-add beyond simple packaging of the Apache Hadoop distribution. By combining EMC Isilon scale-out NAS with EMC Greenplum HD, EMC reduces the complexities associated with Hadoop deployments and allows enterprises to extract business value from unstructured data.

Bottom-line, the Big Data era has arrived and the technology is there. The gating factor for Hadoop and other Big Data technologies is the size of the community of trained and experienced data scientists that can fully leverage these new innovations.

Duhon: What excites you most about the convergence of social, local, and mobile?

Preston: The ability to truly transform business processes by embedding social, local and mobility directly into the fabric of the business process – yielding a level of increased responsiveness , deeper interactions (with co-workers, customers, and suppliers), better decision-making, and overall competitive advantage, unlike never before. In essence, creating the “connected” business by tying it to all of its constituencies and extended communities – all in the right context to deliver maximum value. By focusing on delighting the new user, organizations will see greater levels of productivity from their knowledge workers. This confluence of Mobility and Social also make the possibilities of the Cloud and Big Data more real. After all, more and more of our information is on the cloud and we demand unencumbered access from devices (mostly mobile devices) of our choosing – whether it belongs to our employers, to us personally or even our kids. Mobile and social interactions also create more data and even more information about that data (i.e.,metadata). This in turn becomes fertile ground for Big Data applications to bring forward new insights and predictive business models that can have a profound impact on transforming companies and even whole industries.

#AIIM12 #E20 #governance #BigData #SoLoMo