The region’s large enterprise scene is interesting. A lot of it comprises of networks of offices operating in tandem to cover the needs of specific regional markets, or alternatively is made up of local branches of multinationals.
It’s this rather fragmented nature of the large enterprise sector here that puts it at risk of information fragmentation – or operating in silos. You can easily end up with a scenario where teams become isolated, and the advantage of size and global reach is lost. Bahrain doesn’t know what the KSA office is doing. Or the UAE office is engaged in a large project that could benefit from London’s know-how, but there’s not enough communication going on.
Let’s get one thing straight – the IT and communication needs of branch offices are no different from those at headquarters. You wouldn’t have half your team unable to access a central database in a large office. Why then let this state of affairs persist for a branch office a few hundred miles away in the region?
In today’s data driven environment, where information is competitive advantage, operating in siloes makes no sense. On the contrary, large enterprises have the weight of reach and experience, which is an advantage that local teams only see if information views are consolidated and IT systems integrated. We would go as far as to say that a transparent IT infrastructure is key to reducing cost, complexity, managing regulatory risk and delivering a seamless customer experience. Because if you’re going to operate in siloes where you’re cut off from your global assets, you’re no different to your smaller competitor down the road.
Silos have to be broken down. And today, we have a tremendous opportunity to do so. We can take content from local offices worldwide and the local branch office and add it to the wider organizations ‘Big Data’ analytics programs. That’s what EMC Isilon is designed to do. It combines cloud capability with data lakes to ensure content is brought back from the edges of a large organization. This means everyone has access to up to the minute analytics and insights. That’s a winning proposition that helps companies leverage their scale while staying nimble.
So blowing up siloes and going with big, transparent data available in the cloud is a good idea for the region and in fact the world. But there are still a few things I’d suggest companies consider.
- A unified architecture will simplify management and reduce operational costs: plan to consolidate to the same scale-out platforms you have within your data centre if possible. This will reduce the burden of operational management and make centralized management more straightforward.
- Set your policies for your regulatory and customer risk profile: recovery options within a data lake give you a lot more flexibility to ensure you’re aligned with your particular industry’s demands. For example, if it is important to retain multiple ‘states’ of your key data at different stages during each working day
- Deliver multiprotocol support: you may end up experimenting and/or building big data analytics applications on a number of different platforms, including Hadoop, Hortonworks, Cloudera etc., so you’ll need your data infrastructure to support them.
- Capitalize on the value of software: the hardware you’ll need is largely “commodity;” it’s the software and the updates that come down to it over the years that will deliver value. So look to find the features, scale, control you need and build out an enterprise license agreement that covers the lifetime of your project.