Tuesday, 21 June 2016

With a Modern Storage Infrastructure, Companies Must Find an Excellent Data Management Tool

One of the more “weighty” questions within the IT world is in reference to the value of each company’s particular data.  Many wonder what the true value of protected data is in the long-run, eventually view it as a cost center where money continuously gets used up.  In order to make data work in the favor of a business and to help generate some income, companies must get smarter with their approaches to business and stop looking at their data this way!

The majority of companies out there admit to wanting a Big Data system as a part of their layout, but ultimately have nothing to show for these desires.  There have been many failed implementations despite lots of money spent on resources to help.  You might say that many businesses have the best intentions when comes to incorporating a data management plan, yet intention without action is arguably useless at the end of the day.  You might wonder why companies fail to follow through on their desires for a Big Data system.  Well, the answer is really quite simple.  The amount of data out there is staggering, and trying to manage it all would be like trying to boil the vast ocean.  You can imagine how difficult-if not impossible-that would be! 

Many question if the cloud would be a good solution, and if everyone should just get started on moving their data up there.  Or perhaps virtualization?  Would that be the answer?  These two tools are valuable, but the question stands on whether or not they are the best way to utilize company resources.  What companies really need is a tool that will aid in organizing data into appropriate categories.  In other words, this tool would be able to filter out what data should be implemented in order to create the most value for the company.

As stated above, the majority of corporations view their data as simply a cost center, aiding in the draining of company resources.  As human nature would have it, a lot of times the attitudes in reference to existing data reflects the heart of "out with the old, in with the new," and new projects that allow for more capacity or faster processing take precedence in time and funding.  It is as if the old data is a bothersome reality, always needing a little extra attention and focus, demanding greater capacity, and continuously needing backups and protection.  What companies forget to keep at the forefront of their minds however, is the fact that taking care of this old and “bothersome” data is a great way to clear up space on the primary storage, and who doesn’t appreciate that?  It also aids in generating a faster backup process (with a reduced backup size), which is again, a bonus for any company!  It should not be so quickly forgotten that this nagging and consistently needy data is essentially the ESSENCE of the company.  Would you believe that this “cost center” is also where it gains some of its income?  If companies kept these points in their minds, we would not be seeing such poor practices when it comes to data management.  One thing is clear however, and that is the point that initiative with managing data can be difficult, and many view the overwhelming ocean of growing data and the daunting task of trying to manage it as too great a calling to handle.
 
However, IT departments and administrators must bear in mind that there are tools out there to help them classify and organize data, which ultimately will be their proverbial life-boat when it comes time to accepting the challenge of managing data.  Look at it this way.  Let's say you are trying to find every single chemical engineer on earth.  Does that sound a bit overwhelming?  The question is, how would you go about doing this?  After all, there are over 7 billion people on this planet!  Where do you begin?  Do you profile EVERY person?  Of course not.  What you would likely do, in order to simplify this complex process, is organizing people into broad groups, maybe by profession.  After that, you would probably do something like research what particular people in that profession graduated with a degree in engineering.  Though basic, you can use these same principles when narrowing down data and trying to sort through the piles of information in a company.  One must use their intelligence and business knowledge to better grasp corporate data, and in return, this will help companies benefit from their data assets.  In order to do this, there are tools available to help administrators better comprehend and manage their data. 

These tools exist to give IT departments the upper hand in managing their spheres.  Can you imagine trying to manage large amounts of company data on your own?  Luckily, we don’t have to do such things, and we live in an age in which a variety of solutions are available to help companies not only survive, but thrive.  These tools are out there to empower IT teams to successfully weather the storms and changing tides of data types and volumes.  After using such tools, companies often experience improved storage capacity, less costs associated with backup and data protection -- and let’s not forget compliance!  Compliance is a hot topic, and with the help of appropriate data management solutions, companies will be guaranteed to meet the various regulatory compliance rules in today’s business world.

In closing, it is important to note that more networking tools will not do anything close to what the appropriate data management solutions can do.  Companies should be looking for solutions that can help them as well with tracking, classifying, and organizing file systems over their whole lifespan.  When the right tools get into the right hands, IT managers are better able to do their jobs! 


About the author: Jason Zhang is the product marketing person for Rocket Software's Backup, Storage, and Cloud solutions.

Monday, 13 June 2016

The Cost of Doing Nothing

For a business to become optimally successful, it absolutely must incorporate a quality life-cycle management system.  This begs the question:  Why do so many vendors miss the mark when it comes to providing the necessary updates and enhancements?  Developers and software companies should embrace their respective ALM systems as their staunch allies; and progressive IT organizations stay well ahead of the game by using progressive technology and best practices to ensure that high-quality products are on time and on budget while remaining fully compliant.  The goal of any ALM supplier should be to cater to its clients by properly supporting them by staying abreast of platform enhancements and being familiar with new languages, new devices, mobile demands, ever-changing compliance regulations and other real-time demands that must be continually addressed.

The bottom line remains:  in order for development leaders to not only survive, but thrive, they must make the transition to the most-updated ALM solution, possible.  Surprisingly, however, development leaders can be hesitant to utilize a modern ALM solution; but the cost of doing nothing can be more expensive than one might imagine. 

There are a handful of misguided reasons why an updated ALM solution might not be employed.  A few of those fallacies can include the following:

A New ALM Solution Would Be Too Cost-Prohibitive

Being the lead dog and staying ahead of the pack in this competitive world is absolutely paramount which is why a vendor must provide the crucial components such as product enhancements, platform updates, etc.  Research reveals some unsettling data:

  • 84% of IT projects become overdue or over budget
  • 31% of IT projects never reach completion due to being canceled
  • Completed IT projects deliver, on average, only 42% of their expected benefits

Accuracy and efficiency become the name of the game as it applies to profit; but developers' profit margins will be sorely compromised without up-to-date functionality and access to current tools via an up-to-date ALM system.  Additionally, if no automated system is integrated, IT will be forced to spend a good deal of valuable time addressing compliance-related issues; and that can be costly. 

Your vendor's R&D department should certainly be acutely aware of new trends in the industry as well as responsive to customer’s requests.  A coveted ALM solution will incorporate 1) on-board templates for compliance reporting 2) compatibility and remote access with any mobile device 3) tools such as dashboards, real-time reports & analytics and automated work-flows –  all, of which, enable every team-member to stay up-to-date. 

The cost of doing nothing can take a titanic toll when one considers that not meeting app-release time-lines as well as opportunities that become lost in the shuffle plus valuable time addressing compliance concerns and/or audits all cost a business, big-time!  The question, then, becomes obvious:  You believe you can't afford the integration of a modern ALM solution – but can you afford NOT to??

Our Current ALM Solution Seems to be Working Fine
In order to effectively, efficiently and optimally monitor, manage and coordinate all the people, processes, changes and dynamics that are intricately involved in the application life-cycle, utilizing the most sophisticated ALM solution is key!  Development personnel feel the demands of deploying functionality and fixes, very quickly.  The IT setting is extremely complex; and in this environment, database servers, web servers, diverse clientele and every type of mobile device equate to sophisticated development and release processes.  All this must be intricately orchestrated without a hitch; and a modern ALM solution is what it takes to fully ensure a flawless and seamless operations in every department. 

With the most modern ALM solution, users can enjoy the ease at which systems and work-flows come together in addition to the minimization of production errors and the maximization of collaboration efforts.  Then, imagine all this coupled with data access from any mobile device, compliance reports with point-and-click ease and automation processes that are as easy as child's play.

Older ALM solutions are just that 'old' and with that, comes the inability for an archaic solution tool to offer the newest of technologies which equates to lost time due to fixing bad code and dealing with coding errors, as only a single example.  And then, of course, there is the lost revenue.  In the end, the growth of a company is stifled.  Again, a modern ALM solution keeps a business in position as the 'alpha' and leader of the competitive pack since the people and processes involved are all humming like a fine-tuned engine – no, barricades, no inefficiency and virtually no errors.

Transitioning to a New ALM Would Be Too Time-Consuming

How one chooses a vendor can make the difference between reaping the benefits of a dedicated and seasoned professional with an unparalleled product that he or she is excited to share, verses a vendor whose interest in your goals and progress is marginal, at best.  Assuming the right vendor has been selected, the time required to get the system fully running will be miniscule.  Personnel can very quickly enjoy immediate visibility, coordination and management across distributed systems, teams and tools.  In the end, previously-lost revenue due to outdated ALM systems becomes a distant memory since teams will no longer contend with drawn-out, manual processes but will, now, have the updated abilities to very quickly communicate, collaborate, update etc. regarding any and all application projects. 

Not one single team-member needs to concern him or herself with transitioning into an updated system.  A committed vendor will make sure the necessary and expected support is entirely available for everyone involved.  Again, in the end, any time invested in becoming familiar with a new ALM solution will begin to immediately pay for itself due to optimized usability involving real-time visibility, flexibility, accuracy and automation.

Our Current ALM Serves Only Development

When a business chooses stagnation over progress, it can become the 'kiss of death' for the organization.  Because technology will never slow down or even reach an apex, a business absolutely must stay on track with innovative ideas, processes and insights.  An integrated ALM system ensures that users can take full advantage of managing, in real-time, every aspect of development and delivery.  A top-tier ALM solution will provide instantaneous updates on every component ranging from code to work-flow to dashboards and everything in-between and beyond.  Smarter, more-insightful decisions become common-place among everyone involved – whether development personnel, auditors, programmers, etc.  Since DevOps departments evolve and advance in the enterprise, so too, must the ALM system by functioning as the centralized collaborative arena where inter-department communications are available whenever and wherever required.

After it's all said and done, switching to a modern ALM solution will, realistically, save money over the long haul since time is being dramatically saved – and time is money!  Those few words serve as a cliché as well as a fact.  Whether one is speaking of departments collaborating on changes at any level, or enhanced visibility that maximizes work-flow or whether one is talking about users gaining advanced capabilities resulting in succinct, precise and quick decision-making, it all adds up, once again, to saving copious amounts of time which translates into saving impressive amounts of revenue.

A reliable vendor will provide the kind of support one would expect from a supplier that operates as a top-tier contender in the industry.  Vendor support should include:

  • Access to the most up-dated interfaces and devices
  • Assistance with any existing OS
  • Intervention for all platforms, on which, code is being developed
  • Mobile and web development
  • Out-of-the-box plug-ins to converge with other tools
  • Compliance-report templates
  • Delivery of single-screen visibility with all IT involvement
  • Adjustable point-and-click distribution and deployment and mobile functionality with everything

It is an ever-changing business climate where technology is king.  And...

                                            Adaptation equals growth and growth equals SUCCESS!    


About the author: Daniel Magid is Rocket’s IBM i solution leader and Director of the Rocket Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and DevOps lab. Having started his career at IBM in 1981 in the midrange computer division, Daniel brings to Rocket Software more than 30 years of experience in the IBM midrange marketplace. Prior to coming to Rocket as part of the acquisition of Aldon in 2011, Daniel was Aldon’s CEO and Chief Product Strategist. Daniel led the growth of Aldon from a small 4 person consulting company to the largest provider of ALM and DevOps solutions in the IBM i market. Daniel is a recognized expert in application development and DevOps in the IBM i market and a well-known presence at IBM i conferences.