Breaking Silos: information where you need it, when you need it

In today’s world everybody and everything is connected. I realized early on that in life you cannot achieve your maximum potential by yourself. You need family, coaches, friends, advocates, and a whole network to make a difference.

Same with technology, there is a network effect that amplifies the value of a solution: the more people on Skype or IM, the more convenient it is to communicate.

Traditionally, in the Enterprise, many IT solutions have been built in silos because of organizational structure, budget ownership, or just short-term thinking. Currently, however,  many organizations are realizing that breaking silos needs to be a priority.  Many CIOs have that on their top 3 list of priorities because the advantages are many: one view of the customer, streamlined transaction processing, more effective compliance processes, capacity optimization, higher utilization of resources, standardization, etc.

How do you break silos? There are many layers: applications, security, infrastructure and data – to name a few.  Honing in on data, there are many initiatives in the Financial Services industry about Big Data, data classification, and data governance in general.

Over the years data has stayed within the business unit that collected it. If it was credit card usage, it stayed in the Credit Card databases. If it was mortgage information it stayed in the Mortgage group, and so on. The advent of Data Warehouses and Data Marts, was a first phase in the journey of breaking silos. But there is a lot of ETL and batch work to aggregate the data and then extract intelligence. The pioneers in this process have proved the value of aggregated data over and over again. But ultimately, the Data Warehouse itself is a silo.

Technology has evolved to a point where it is possible to have relevant information at your fingertips, when you need it, where you need it; and by “you” I mean a financial analyst, a business decision maker, a stock analyst, a mortgage officer, a risk manager, or a sales manager – you name it.

At NetApp we have Data ONTAP – like beer released from the silos of bottles. I had to say it! With the new Clustered Data OnTap you also get the always on capability and a single volume/namespace adds ubiquity and simplicity.  With the IonGrid acquisition (now NetApp Connect), you get secure access to Enterprise data from mobile devices.

When you combine these capabilities with a layer of policy-driven data movers, workflow automation, collaboration platforms and real-time analytics you get awfully close to the end vision of “information where you need it, when you need it.”

NetApp has a culture of partnerships – another silo-breaker. With technology partners such as Microsoft, Cisco, Citrix, SAP, AWS, NTP Software and many others, there are more comprehensive solutions that address data lifecycle from cradle to cradle.

The next silo to break is the vendor silo and the Open Source movement along with the Software Defined movement. Adoption by financial firms is still in the first innings, but the trend is clear: achieve agility and flexibility through programmability and standardization.

Data is exploding and I, for one, can’t wait to partner with our customers to make the most of the new Open Data world in front of us.