Big data – possibly running in the cloud – is a dream for many companies, but an efficient content management infrastructure can help them to realise this dream. This is according to Stuart Cheverton, speaking at the Hitachi Innovation Forum today.
Challenges include growing demand, flat budgets and a need to do things different – all while reducing costs within the enterprise. Information is growing exponentially.

“It’s becoming a beast, and we need to tame it now,” says Cheverton.

This growth is a combination of business-driven, human-driven and machine-driven data. In addition, there is the big data phenomenon. While this is currently structured, in the future it will become more unstructured.
Employees are creating data in different place and users need to harness this.

“IT needs to transform itself and become an innovation centre. By harnessing information we have and repurposing data we can start doing that.”

At the heart is the content core that needs to be created, using storage from the data centre while also bringing in data from the edge. Then consumers need to start protecting and sharing the data. This lets them get a unified view from which to start searching it. Data can come from anywhere as well, adding to the complexity.

The answer is enterprise content management, which brings in data from everywhere into the core. The platform allows companies to start indexing and managing all data at the core – so users can catalogue content at source and start preparing for big data and analytics.

“But how does that fit into the applications we are running at the moment?” Cheverton asks.

The answer is to take data from various applications into the content core. There is also an ability for applications to write directly to the core, allowing it to be searched.

“This gives you a unified view of all your data sitting out there,” he says. “The days of siloed data are past, the days of multiple copies of the same file are over. You can start sharing data in a more intelligent way, taking from the core and pushing to the edge. Importantly you can push out just metadata, giving companies efficiencies without causing bandwidth problems.”

The benefits are many: there is a single platform which eliminates silos, so archiving and data protection are taken care of. Companies can start discovering data, and they can add compliance or policies. They can also move into a cloud service.

“It’s making your data more meaningful for the company and the users.”

This also lets companies bring the cloud in-house and they can also backup data at scale; they can protect it more easily as well. In addition, companies can query metadata and have it delivered back as a federated search.

The data could be anywhere within the organisation – on premise, in the cloud or on mobile devices – but management is via one platform.

Companies will be better able to adapt to change, managing it more effectively. Data will be stored separately from their applications, ensuring it doesn’t become obsolete while adding value to “old” data.

“So you can start innovating with information,” says Cheverton.

He says the HDS platform is the foundation, as all their data is kept in a single content core. Companies can then analyse the data, and this builds up to the big data story.