Content Management Is The Key To Success
Determining the right IT infrastructure for an enterprise has always been a little like shooting at a moving target. But lately, it has become harder than ever to hit the bulls’ eye. The biggest challenge used to be dealing with pace of change, famously defined in the 1970s by Moore’s Law. Today the problem is more complex. It is no longer solely about how quickly technology is moving, but where it is moving to? And the answer is that it is moving everywhere!
In fact, the next stage in IT evolution – ubiquitous technology – has already begun. The global frenzy for information, automation and anytime anywhere access means the world is “always on.” And phenomena such as cloud services, big data, social media and data mobility are irrevocably changing the way technology is consumed.
IT organizations that are interested in unlocking the full potential and productivity of their organizations must transform the way they perceive IT in order to support it effectively.
One visible result is that organizations of all sizes and industries are now calling for a broader spectrum of choice in the technologies necessary to support increasing expectations of tech-savvy customers, line-of-business owners and employees. Prevalent within that spectrum is workplace mobility, which translates into the freedom to work beyond the desk and the desktop by using mobile devices.
A recent study of 600 enterprise businesses found that 95% already have employees who rely on personal mobile devices and apps for work. The same survey also revealed that 92% of organisations recognise mobile apps as a way to gain competitive advantage.
For many companies, the new reality is that, if content does not exist on a mobile screen, then for all practical purposes it might as well not exist at all.
The Business Dilemma for IT
So how is all this mobile ubiquity affecting IT? The answer is dramatically! The always-on world is always changing. The speed of data movement, collaboration and the appeal of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend are outpacing the capabilities of most IT organizations to control these developments. This, in turn, poses an increased risk to the data assets accessed through these mobile devices.
Managing the data itself might be an even bigger challenge. Unstructured data within businesses is growing not only in volume, but also in variety. According to Gartner, in most enterprises it is increasing by 40% to 60% a year, often driven by driven by the most mundane of activities such as files shared via email.
This can lead not only to a bewildering number of copies sitting on user devices, in backups and on file servers, but also inefficient storage and network utilisation, content duplication and higher costs for storage, backup and data management. Not to mention other worries about control and governance of sensitive data.
With so much at stake, one thing is clear – applying traditional methods and thinking will not work in the always-on, always-changing and, now, always-growing environment.
Beating the content burden
The burden here is for content to be based and placed according to the data’s value, whether on premises or off, in private or public or hybrid clouds. Moving data with the least number of management interfaces and the widest data protection is essential to supporting legacy and modern applications and devices, avoiding security breaches and scaling to meet demand.
In practice that means creating or implementing a content platform that can support tightly integrated control and management of content wherever it is accessed. Whether that is on mobile devices like iPads and smartphones, edge devices in remote offices, on-premises workstations and private clouds, or off-premises in public clouds from different vendors.
There are a few examples on the market, such as HDS’ own offering – Hitachi Content Platform 7.0. The newest version has been enhanced to allow IT organisations and cloud service providers to store, share, synchronise, protect, preserve, analyse and retrieve file data from a single system.
However, whatever solution is eventually chosen, the fundamental requirements are clear. It must be designed to enable IT to mobilise content across multiple devices, locations, applications and storage resources.
The goal is to give IT departments full flexibility to support business requirements with data centre protection, governance and overall efficiency. That includes flexibility in terms of which cloud partner the organisation may choose. Or, more importantly, making sure that it does not lock you into a particular cloud service. Support for greater cloud choice also has the knock-on effect of balancing Opex and Capex.
Customizability that enables the creation of trust zones is also a good idea. These can consist of a group of people, information resources, data systems, and/or networks according to a shared security policy – the set of rules that govern access to data and services.
Equally essential is support for Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), which can simplify address management, adds support for new devices, and make it easier for providers to integrate with enterprise private clouds or offer customers virtual private cloud services with a dedicated address space.
Content management the key to the future
Today’s unstructured data growth, increasing workforce mobility and changing business dynamics are undoubtedly creating a paradigm shift to an unprecedented data-driven model of commerce. The range of technologies, devices, choices and demands for connecting and collaborating are constantly changing and growing.
The businesses that want to win in this new mobile, global and technology-dependent world will require tight alignment with IT and fresh ways of working together to innovate, compete and profit.
Certainly, success means first overcoming the persistent IT challenges which exist even in the more savvy data environments. But, the real key is implementing an integrated content platform capable of supporting pervasive workforce, data and cloud mobility environments no matter what the future may hold or where it may reside.
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