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Is Big Data the future of archiving

by Laurence Hill, TJC

“Big data” is the new buzzword for a whole plethora of IT marketers and vendors—but the danger with buzzwords is that the more we use them, the less we actually understand what they mean.

This post takes a look at how IT has developed over the last 50 years, why big data has been part of that story, and why we think it is an important part of its future.

I’ll begin by introducing you to an innovative device created by the inventor of the iPod, Tony Fadell. It’s called The NEST learning thermostat.

 It records users’ day-to-day behaviours and creates automatic schedules on the basis of what it learns. [For more information click here]  It works with existing heating systems, making it easy to install in place of an existing thermostat.

 What has this got to do with us?

In the beginning, IT was used for recording data.

Accounting systems were put in place to record and process payroll information—working in much the same way as the traditional thermostat. Results relied entirely on how well applications were deployed by the user Opportunities to save energy (or costs) were often overlooked and the full benefits of the technology were frequently not exploited. 

Then IT started recording the goals

 Material Requirements Planning (MRP) systems had come into general use by the 1970s. Calculating production needs and managing manufacturing processes automatically, these systems meant that new approaches to the use of IT were possible.

Whilst useful for individual departments, MRP data was not shared across organisations until MRP II began to emerge in the early 1980s. The new systems combined data from different sources, incorporating capacity planning, vendor management and billing.

 Today SAP is king

 Modern IT departments are using Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERP) to integrate internal & external management across the whole organisation. By combining data from multiple sources, senior management can see what is happening in the entire supply chain, as well as in finance, service delivery and customer relationship management. These developments have the same limitations as the programmable thermostats – they are reliant on the users’ ability to input data. Opportunities to save energy can often be overlooked and the systems can be too complex for users to use properly.

This is where SAP’s features & benefits come into play—and deliver results - through automated tasks and by using data from one source to manage data in another task, for example.


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