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January 15, 2017

The Data Analytics Journey

The beginning of 2017 is a perfect time to take stock of data analytics projects—where you’ve been in the past year, where you want to go in 2018, and how your projects can be counted among those estimated 40% of projects that go beyond piloting and experimentation in 2017.

In working with hundreds of data analytics customers, Dell EMC has identified the common traits for driving successful projects, as well the warning signals for those that are likely to veer off course. What are the top 3 traits those companies who create secure, scalable, meaningful data analytics project?

Successful organizations know it’s a journey

First and foremost, successful organizations understand that deploying and optimizing a data analytics solution is a journey--there will be right turns as well as detours that can take you off the beaten path, some good, others less so. What should you pack in your survival kit? Creative problem solving, tribal knowledge, and perseverance are at the top of the list. Some might even recommend rain gear, because data analytics is a voyage of discovery that you will need to commit to –  rain or shine.

It’s common to feel some excitement, as well as trepidation, as you embark, and it’s not uncommon to feel disruption or threatened. The pressure to compete drives the need to change, but don’t let the sense of urgency rush you forward prematurely.   Set your course, engage supporting partners and invest in the right resources.

Successful organizations have a North Star

If data analytics is a journey, then what will you use as your guide; what is your North Star? The answer: your use case. It clearly defines what the organization needs to accomplish, so you can determine the data to be used and the analytics required to achieve the desired outcomes.

How to define your use case: Dell EMC Big Data Vision Workshop

The Dell EMC Big Data Vision Workshop brings key stakeholders together to define the business and technical requirements for a data analytics project. Most businesses attend the workshops with multiple stakeholders and leave with a clear understanding of what they need to do to move forward. The Dell EMC Big Data Vision Workshop is a great way to define your use case and set your North Star.

Successful organizations deploy flexible and agile solutions

Sometimes getting where you need to go means blazing a new trail; the more flexibility you build into your plans, and the more flexibility and agility in the solutions you implement, the less disruptive unplanned obstacles, new opportunities or changes along the way will be.

How to test the waters: Dell EMC Customer Solution Centers

Located in key sites across the globe, Dell EMC Customer Solution Center invite you to experience Dell EMC solutions and technology in a dedicated, hands-on environment equipped with state-of-the-art labs and teams of solution experts. Organizations are welcome to leverage Solution Centers resources to investigate data solutions and explore opportunities through a briefing, a workshop or a fully supported proof-of-concept to test a use case.

Step-by-step approach

If data analytics is a journey and the use case is our North Star, then what are the steps that we take on our journey?   Successful companies have worn a path for us to follow.   This path starts with partners to help us on this journey.

Dell EMC delivers a powerful portfolio of solutions - ready to help organizations at every turn.  Together with strong partnerships that include Intel, Cloudera, Hortonworks, SAP HANA, Microsoft and more, Dell EMC is an invaluable partner on a data analytics journey.

Once you have identified the partners for your journey, what are the specific steps to take?

Step 1 – Consolidate data for operational management and analytic efficiencies

Once you’ve determined your use case, you’ll need to identify and consolidate your data. Consider a highly scalable and flexible solution that eliminates data silos, delivers management efficiency and enables in-place analytics.

Simplify data consolidation

Dell EMC Isilon Scale-Out NAS data lakes as well as Dell EMC Ready Bundles for Cloudera® and Hortonworks® Hadoop simplify consolidating data. Thousands of hours of engineering support from Dell EMC and strategic partners take the hard work out of deploying and maintaining a Hadoop environment, so that organizations can focus on data consolidation. Best-in-class Dell EMC PowerEdge servers powered by Intel® Xeon® processors provide the reliability and performance necessary for success.

Step 2 – Data analytics

Here best practices enable users to implement analytics, a self-service system or a program that can handle information in both real-time and at scale, it’s important to implement a system that can handle massive data sets and process information at the edge of the enterprise.

We consistently see top-performing companies that started with a single use case, and within a year, they might have four, six or eight more use cases that leverage these capabilities – all building upon the most recent step in the journey.

Dell EMC Analytic Insights Module

As a data analytics journey expands, a variety of capabilities will become necessary to serve the needs of an entire organization. The Dell EMC Analytic Insights Module provides a key foundation to grow your business around as you expand the number of data analytics use cases. Self-service analytics, governance and the ability to extend insights to cloud-native application development are a few of the critical capabilities of Dell EMC.

Step 3 – Apply analytics-based insights

Step three is where users advance their application of insights to drive positive change.

Depending on the identified use cases, the application environment might be partner-, customer- or employee-facing. To enable analytics in an organization’s application, the application environment must be prepared to receive and process information at the pace required by the use case.

Pivotal Cloud Foundry

In the past, applications were often developed with little consideration for how they’d integrate analytics as the requirement simply did not exist. Pivotal Cloud Foundry is a comprehensive cloud-native platform that enables applications to consume and deploy analytics in today’s fast-paced, modern data environment. Pivotal Cloud Foundry enables application frameworks to manage the high velocity and high volume of analyzed data.

Bottom Line

A successful data analytics journey starts with a commitment, preparation and a plan. With a use case as your North Star, organizations are ready to move through a series of thoughtful, clear steps to bring data analytics projects to fruition. Together with the strength of Dell EMC as a trusted partner, organizations can drive data analytics success stories.

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