The Big Data Opportunity

It’s generally accepted that unstructured data accounts for at least 80% of an organisation’s data

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The Big Data Opportunity
By  Piers Ford Published  April 15, 2014

“For example, the channel needs to know about solutions that improve performance and market execution, create customer-centric organisations, and mitigate risk, and effectively sell these solutions. They must continually offer holistic solutions. Cisco provides a cohesive approach integration collaboration, data and networks, enabling partners to reach an end-to-end solution that drives business outcomes.”

Helping customers to make sense of the data flood, and transform huge pools of raw data – from internal and external sources – into meaningful, real-time business intelligence, which will help them make better business decisions, is the goal for any reseller serious about developing a reputation for big data expertise.

“They are confronted with a challenging scenario of staying abreast with new and upcoming technologies, they need to constantly upgrade their skills in big data, cloud and new business models to cater to customer and market demands,” said Boby Joseph, data practice – head at Data Science Technologies.

According to Taj El-Khayat, managing director, Middle East, Turkey, North, West and Central Africa at storage specialist Riverbed Technology, there is a basic requirement for business analytics expertise.

“Enterprises should know exactly what their infrastructure requirements are in terms of applications, storage, networking and which will connect to the storage and security policies to make the analysed data secure – as usually, such information is very sensitive,” he said.

“For example, any Ministry of Interior collects data from citizens, government transactions, photos, visa applications and so on. The last thing they would want to face is having data compromised.

“So, companies that decide to take advantage of business intelligence and analytics need to have the end-to-end understanding and control over data, while having it ready and easily accessible at all times.

“Given that, from the entire ecosystem comprising resellers and other channel partners, system integrators and enterprises, the large integrators would be the best fit to leverage the big data trend, as they have complete understanding, know-how and expertise to provide organisations with the tailored solutions and services they need.”

That adds up to the requirement for a rich mixture of skills and capabilities – some of which will require investment and commitment from channel partners.

“Big data demands new programming and analytics skills that today’s data analysts typically lack,” said Allen Mitchell, senior technical account manager, MENA, at data management specialist CommVault.

“They include a strong background in mathematics and statistical analysis, familiarity with newer statistical programming languages, and knowledge of analytics modelling techniques. Big data also demands a new set of technical skills that aren’t readily found today in many enterprise data centres. Among these hard skills are data architecting that includes the build-out of databases than span terabytes of data, and being able to administer software frameworks or in-analytics programming languages.

“Big data also demands a set of soft skills that includes the ability of people to think broadly across the organisations, to understand the bottom-line needs of the business, to know which analytics questions to pose to get to those bottom lines, and to measure and communicate results. Ultimately, the best resellers differentiate themselves with the proven knowledge that yields measurable benefits to their customers.”

The need for channel partners to offer consultancy alongside any technology solutions is clear – and could be the big game changer for SIs in such a complex market.

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