3 Keys For Architecting Your Platform For Growth Successfully

car on a bridge representing a real-time platformJust think about it: How often do you try to fast-forward through the merciless number of television ads that disrupt your favorite shows? More often than not is what we can assume. However, on seldom occasions, an ad may seem to speak to you. In those moments, you watch with attention, taking in that feeling of human connection.

Every company wants to make these types of connections with its consumers, and guess who is expected to make it happen? That’s right – IT. It’s IT’s job to serve up relevant data to your business users so that they can quickly digest and transform the information into winning strategies. Using a platform that brings together transactions and analytics and links together systems for an integrated, secure path forward will enable your company to compete in real time and capitalize on big business opportunities.

Get ready for your date with data

One of the mistakes when entering into any relationship with data is to move forward without having a sound foundation in place. First, you must carefully consider all the things you and your company expect to get out of data, and make sure your platform can support your strategic goals.

The mobile devices and apps, cloud services, Big Data analytics, and social technologies that shape the “Platform” must all be considered. Each is a critical driver in a digital strategy that best leverages today’s booming technologies.

It’s on IT’s shoulders to make sense of the data overload that exists in this 3rd Platform marketplace. The better you can understand and represent the data, the better you’ll be able to provide meaningful insights to your company. But before you’re able to do any of that, you must first have easy access to that data. Developing an infrastructure that can link systems and bring transactional and analytical data processes together on one platform enables you to quickly provide deep insights into your company’s structured and unstructured data.

The conversation has officially changed

Let’s face it – data is only going to keep growing. The International Data Corporation (IDC) expects we’ll reach 6 trillion terabytes in 2014. No one’s talking about whether data analytics is critical anymore; we all know it to be true. And, we’ll see the same shift in thought with integrated systems. The combination of Platform as a Service (PaaS) opportunities and in-memory analytic capabilities creates a powerful force for competitive advantages.

It’s important that you ask the hard questions and find the right technology partners, because so many companies get stuck with expensive technology that doesn’t actually meet specifications. When this happens, IT is often blamed.

Don’t let that be you! As the role of IT evolves, here are three essentials needed in a strong platform that will enable IT take ownership of its new responsibilities:

  • Safe connections: Workforces want to go mobile, and access and create data from any location and any device at any time. But, you also want to make sure you don’t have to worry about stolen computer equipment or sharing expensive storage capacity with others. Your data can still remain safe behind the firewall you built, if you are careful. Of course, you must also make sure you’re up-to-date on virus protection and internal security precautions.
  • One source of truth: Data is often spread across a multitude of siloed applications and systems throughout the organization. With employees working off bits and pieces – rather than a complete data set – you risk decisions and strategies that are built around inconsistent versions of the truth. In-memory platforms can help ensure that everyone operates off a single, consistent view of your data.
  • Stop waiting for data insights: Business analysts can spend 90% of their day running queries instead of actually analyzing data for insights to be used throughout the organization. In all the noise, many are unaware that queries don’t have to take days or hours – some can be completed in seconds! The ability to improve your performance through rapid data processing should not be overlooked.

It’s up to you to align the people, processes, and technology by shifting how you think about your job as an enabler to one that empowers your business users. It can all begin by laying the proper technological foundation for your business.

For more tips on where to focus your IT efforts and 2014 technology trends, download the IDC white paper, IDC Predictions 2014: Battles for Dominance – and Survival – on the 3rd Platform.