Thursday, May 19, 2016

Innovative Thinking in the Age of Big Data and IoT



The recent Collaborate16 conference for Oracle professionals discussed many issues and challenges we have today and how innovation is changing how we create and utilize information. We live in the Age of Innovation. The change we have seen in the past 10 years has been unprecedented in our history. These changes have reached into our everyday lives as we have moved from the Printed Age to the Digital Age. The change has not been gradual, rather it has been revolutionary. We as information professionals have seen this change every day and need to adapt to the changes in technology.

Disruptive technologies are not new. In the past the car was seen as disruptive form of transportation and ultimately put an end to the horse-drawn carriages and in many ways changed how we saw trains. In the information area we saw email supplant traditional postal mail. In the past people sent thoughtful and detailed letters to each other to provide updates which arrived days or weeks after they occurred. Email changed the way we communicate. Today we can communicate our thoughts and feeling via email in an instantaneous manner which has caused the Postal service to rethink the products and services they offer. Even email has been impacted by disruptive technologies as well. The use of apps like Snapchat, text messaging, and Instagram. 

Consider the message we got in the movie "The Graduate" in which a smug Los Angeles businessman takes aside the young Dustin Hoffman and declares, "I just want to say one word to you -- just one word -- 'plastics.'”. If the same movie was produced today the line may be …. “I just wanted to say 2 words to you…. Just 2 words… 3D Printing”. We have moved from use plastics by industry to the point where individuals can now control the plastic. We can use 3D Printing to produce machines, artwork and even a complete house. There is no limit to what can be done
A recent survey from TechPro Research identified the drivers for innovation. The list below illustrates their results:
http://zdnet1.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/2015/05/21/1035bb67-e148-4bff-8caa-4dbcc6f9d020/6ecdca0b07bfd36c0803e78a3f58d86c/innovation-tech-vendors-3.png
http://www.zdnet.com/article/it-innovations-four-horsemen-google-apple-amazon-microsoft/ 

The survey shows us that Cloud has been the most disruptive technology to spur on innovation. I find this interesting as I expected that the emergence of Big Data or data as a foundation of life as being the most disruptive, but the numbers show us that Cloud is significantly more impactful at spawning innovation.

How is it that the Cloud has made some an impact in innovation?  Although it should be obvious, the Cloud has allowed us to create solution which are not encumbered by our own local limitations. In the Cloud we can now deploy solutions using new technologies as see if they work with limited cost and risk exposure. We now have an environment where we can leverage its elasticity to support the storage of more data than previously considered. By using the technology to support the deployment of solutions quickly it also provides a storage area which can be used to supply analysts with data when they need it at a cost which can be very competitive. 
The leadership at Oracle have clearly shown that Cloud is their future as well. Larry Ellison, Oracle’s CEO, stated, “We are in the middle of a generational shift to the cloud, it is no less important than the move to personal computing”. Oracle has delivered on this vision by creating a cloud environment where you can get a database, deploy a Hadoop cluster or run Oracle’s eBusiness Suite. The transformation has been quick and Oracle’s focus is clearly in this area based on what they now offer. The question is whether or not customers will be willing to move to a SaaS and PaaS approach and move away from in-house software and application management.

Innovation comes in many forms but one thing is that innovation brings is change. We must remember that although innovation is meant to provide benefits, not all innovations will succeed. We therefore must ensure that regardless of success we must look at new ideas to allow our organizations to evolve.

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