By clicking “Accept All Cookies,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation and analyze site usage.

Skip to main content

Big Data and Cloud: Fuel for Digital Business

November 06, 2015

Whether it’s searching for medical diagnoses or oil fields to explore, tracking Ebola outbreak patterns or interpreting retail marketing trends, big data is ushering in an era of exponential change. But along with unprecedented opportunities, this era is also upending the roles of both humans and traditional technologies to carry out complex tasks.

According to Bernie Meyerson, IBM Fellow and Chief Innovation Officer, the “tsunami of data” being created, coupled with new time-to-market velocities, is beginning to overwhelm human ability to keep pace. As a result, what he calls accessible intelligence (AI), cognitive computing and assistive technologies, must fill in some of the gaps and make petabytes of unstructured data usable to all types of business and consumer applications.

Even traditional computer and chip manufacturer IBM knows that “brute-force computing is dead.” We won’t keep seeing faster chips “but AI systems will make up the difference,” Meyerson told IT executives at Saugatuck Technology’s November 4 Cloud Business Summit in New York. Saugatuck is now part of Information Services Group (ISG), based in Stamford, CT.

IBM, like other legacy tech giants, “has been on a multi-year buying binge, snapping up companies and technologies from SoftLayer, Cloudant and Cleversafe,” according to Fortune. Last week, it acquired Gravitant— a company that specializes in helping companies buy and manage cloud computing services– to keep its cloud portfolio vigorous.

At the Summit, Meyerson said that

AI and cloud-based data will add key value to enterprises on the road to becoming digital businesses. Metadata and extrapolated data, stored in the cloud, are the knowledge engines fueling business growth.

And increasingly, the “cloud is a core asset” – not just for huge firms, but for small business in all industries that need rapid access to high-quality data for business analytics. “When everyone has access to the same data, it’s how you use it,” that yields competitive advantage.

In the short-term, however, providing seamless data access is still a goal for cloud vendors. Trans-border data is a thorny issue in many places, particularly in Europe, and Meyerson said that marketplaces for curated data may become more common.

In his presentation on digital business, Saugatuck CEO Bill McNee, said that based on a survey of 129 high-level IT executives, AI and robotic use are on the rise in businesses of all types striving to become digital organizations. “Digital business is driven by data-driven decision-making,” which demands “a fundamental re-thinking of business models” and of the technologies used to deliver products and services.

Read Saugatuck’s interview with Meyerson.