This paper explores a path leading to data analytics and artificial intelligence, from understanding the vision to capitalizing on use cases for improving operational efficiency and transforming the business. The paper also highlights examples of platforms and solutions that help organizations consolidate data, deploy analytics environments and build AI systems.
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION TAKES FLIGHT
Welcome to the fourth industrial revolution: digital transformation. This is a revolution that is driven by data analytics and the techniques for artificial intelligence, and it is fundamentally altering the way businesses operate across all industries.
Business leaders understand the opportunity — as well as the new imperatives — brought by digital transformation. Consider these findings from a recent Dell Technologiescommissioned survey of 4,300 business leaders in 18 countries:
• 80 percent of organizations have fast-tracked digital transformation programs this year
• 79 percent are re-inventing their business models
• 89 percent recognize that as a result of disruption this year, they need a more agile and scalable IT infrastructure
As they recognize their digital transformation opportunities, business leaders are simultaneously focusing on the technologies that will make it all happen. For example, the same survey found that:
• 82 percent of respondents envision increased usage of augmented reality to learn how to do or fix things in an instant
• 85 percent foresee organizations using artificial intelligence and data models to predict potential disruptions
• 78 percent predict distributed ledgers — such as blockchain— will make the gig economy fairer (by cutting out the intermediary)
Successfully navigating in this new era requires a commitment from organizations to transform not only people and processes, but also to modernizing the environment upon which a business is built — from the edge to the core to the cloud. Data analytics and AI are at the core of these initiatives, and there are many opportunities for starting on this journey.
PLANNING FOR A JOURNEY
Building a data-driven organization using data analytics and AI to create insights is a journey. Before your organization starts down this path, it is essential that you gain a clear view of the road ahead, along with a clear plan of action for what you want to accomplish with your data.
To fully empower a data analytics journey, organizations must align data projects to business goals and measurable performance metrics. It’s essential to define objectives, prioritize use cases for operational efficiency or organizational transformation, assess unique environments, and discuss how to strategically enable data solutions.
Based on your organization’s priorities, data analytics can be focused on driving operational efficiencies or driving transformation. Operational efficiency use cases typically center on tactical goals that improve current productivity, such as accelerating reporting or improving service levels. Transformation use cases are concerned with more strategic goals, such as driving innovations that allow organizations to stand out from the competition, or building 360 views of customers to enhance the customer experience. Regardless of the focus, all of these use cases are based on gleaning deeper insights from data.
To unlock the value of data, organizations must work to reach strategic phases in the data analytics journey. These phases include:
• Consolidating data with solutions such as data lakes
• Using data analytics to drive operational efficiencies and business transformation
• Enhancing the organization’s ability to act on data by building cloud-native applications Reaching each of these milestones in the data analytics journey puts your organization on a faster and more simplified path to building a data-driven enterprise.
BEGINNING THE JOURNEY
For organizations working to consolidate data to extract value from mountains of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data, the next step is to put the right data platforms in place.
• The Apache® Hadoop® platform offers compelling benefits for data storage and processing. Unlike other platforms, Hadoop can store any kind of data in its native format, from any source, cost effectively, and at very large scale, and it can do sophisticated analysis and transformations of that data easily and quickly.
• Dell EMC PowerScale network-attached storage solutions provide a solid foundation for data consolidation. They give you the ability to easily scale your storage environment while supporting traditional and next-generation applications and workloads.
• The Dell EMC Streaming Data Platform software on PowerEdge servers can provide a powerful platform for ingesting, storing and analyzing continuously streaming unbounded data.
This is just a small sample of the available analytics solutions that can enable your journey. Based on your organization’s use cases, preferences and data volumes, Dell Technologies can work with you to help you find the best path forward for your organization.