Video: Big data is the bridge for business and IT



Interxion key speaker Ian McVey has appeared on Meet the Boss TV.

In an in depth interview, Ian set out the challenges which are facing CIOs across the world in their geo-political, macro-economic context.

Echoing a recent speech by President Obama, he described why big data is our ‘Sputnik moment’ as it offers real opportunity for innovation-led growth for the Western world.

Importantly, Ian went into great detail about how to achieve this innovation at the micro-scale – and laid down a straight forward framework for individual business decision-makers who are thinking of innovation as a process rather than as an event. This includes building big data solutions in highly connected, strategically located and cost-effective environments or, as Ian put it, “building your solution on rock rather than on sand.”

Ian also outlined the findings of Interxion’s recent pan-European survey with Vanson Bourne and our report Big Data – Beyond the Hype, giving a real understanding of the current state of play in how businesses are tackling big data today.

  • Watch the Video here

  • Read the transcript

    • Adam Burns, editor, meettheboss tv
      There may be many shades of grey but we think there are only two types of CIO: cost led or innovation led. If you’re in the latter camp, this program is for you – why real-time big data could be your Sputnik moment – if you build it well McKinsey says the use of big data is becoming a key way for leading companies to outperform their peers. It estimates that a retailer embracing big data has the potential to increase its operating margin by more than 60 percent. Big data is here – but how do we deliver on its undoubted promise? I asked Interxion’s Ian McVey…
    • Ian McVey, Director, Enterprise & System Integrators Segment, Interxion
      Big data is indeed a significant trend that’s impacting both business and IT.  If we look at the macroeconomic environment today, we’re coming out of or in and out of a debt crisis, and the question is is what role can big data play in that debt crisis.  If you look at the US GDP and income versus outgoing, there’s a trillion dollar deficit in the US balance every year, adding to a $16 million debt part.  So in ten years time, that could potentially grow to $26 trillion, and the same is true for Europe. 
      So the question is from a macro point of view, what role can big data play to help us as companies and therefore countries innovate to take us out of this debt crisis and propel ourselves forward economically.  The second point is from a micro point of view, how does it impact corporates at a micro level?  How can business models adjust and change and take advantage of big data and the technology trends that big data enables to propel companies forward to compete with in their markets and their industries, or potentially even into new industries?
    • Adam Burns
      To that end, IT is expected to be a business enabler, yet too many IT decision makers get stuck discussing budgets and spend rather than their contributions to the organization, potentially to that innovation.  You say big data, finally the bridge between business and IT, enabling IT to drive industry value.  How should the IT decision maker approach this potentially transforming technology?
    • Ian McVey
      Big data isn’t a new concept.  It’s effectively the evolution of IT from the one moment in which one computer took over manual processes and started to crunch information faster than a human could calculate it.  We’ve been on a trajectory with IT and evolving.
      Given Moore’s Law, given compute power, the cost of computers coming down, and giving innovations such as hidute and file transfer language, we’re seeing technology innovation that’s further enabling business problems to be solved.  But the real trick is how you bring business and IT together because big data offers the promise to exploit at least cross platforming IT, but to create business value in the vertical access for companies and industries to exploit the IT platform.  So the trick is for companies is to say how do they manage that innovation process.  How do they bring companies together, the business side and the IT side to work together to solve problems?
      So for example, we’ve done a study across the Fortune 500 companies, and we’ve looked at which of those companies have a publicly referenced chief innovation officer, and we found that only 36 companies have publicly referenced a chief innovation officer.  That tells us today that companies think of innovation as an event rather than a process.  So I would say for big data, it heralds a great promise in terms of what it can do for corporate, but one of the key considerations is how companies will embed the innovation process, and then enable big data as a weapon within that process to flourish, and that means how we will align business and IT finally to deliver on a least cost platform business value to end companies and end consumers.
    • Adam Burns
      You talk about maybe having a publicly listed chief innovation officer, but what other steps potentially could you share from your implementations? 
    • Ian McVey
      We’ve just recently conducted a study across Europe with Vance & Born, and we’ve interviewed 750 IT decision makers across 11 countries in Europe, and one of the things we’ve found is that today, only 25 percent of companies have reviewed big data and made the business case for change.  When we asked them what are the challenges in big data and in managing an aligning business in IT, the companies and decision makers have said that it’s firefighting that’s a key issue. 37 percent of an IT department’s time is spent firefighting.  So the question is how can businesses enable the headroom for the IT department to put its head above and look beyond strategically at the same time as managing the day-to-day and business as usual.
      The second challenge was around storage, volume of data, how big is that data growing, and we found that e-mail and financial transactions were actually the top two growth drivers of data still today in the corporate.  But the third aspect was around the network.  Forty-eight percent of respondents said that the network was a key challenge.  So what we believe at Interxion is that aligning business and IT is absolutely critical, but actually, aligning business IT and telecoms is the real trick, and doing that embedded in an innovation process rather than running it as an event while creating the IT departments the headroom to do that to think and look out strategically rather than focusing on the short-term and managing in firefighting is the real trick that the corporates, I believe, have to navigate.
    • Adam Burns
      You mention strategy there.  You say, “At Interxion, we’re passionate about being home to the world’s strategic applications.”  What does that actually practically mean for companies seeking a partner potentially to help with their big data rollout?
    • Ian McVey
      What we mean by that, if we look at the attributes of big data, volume – the four V’s.  Volume, variety, velocity, and variance, we believe at Interxion, our proposition plays directly to each of those V’s.  So for volume, if you’re a corporate considering moving vast amounts of data across your global LAN, how might you better move those data sets through a co-located infrastructure in a facility such as ours, and what might be the cost saving in doing that?
      So if you’re moving 12 petabytes of data across your LAN versus cross connecting those data sets within a facility such as ours.  Similarly, for variety, if you want to pull multiple data sets together, again, what might be the performance issues and the cost implications of pulling those data sets together?  And there’d be variance within that as well.  And then finally, velocity.  If you need to deliver your information to your end customers, your consumers, your fellow corporates or B-to-B corporates, how are you going to do that potentially as we approach near real time?  And what might your network topology say or potentially impede the delivery of that information in real time?
      So with Interxion, we believe that we create an environment.  We enable these companies to build their big data solutions in our facilities that can quickly cross-connect to other data solution providers and deliver therefore on the promise of big data and the velocity of delivery of information in real time, which could be the difference between one retailer, automotive company, FMCG company delivering a strategic proposition to their end customer faster than another.
    • Adam Burns
      What about the fifth V, value?
    • Ian McVey
      Well, that all wraps into value.  So really underpinning all of this is how do companies create shareholder value?  How do they leverage as we go back to the beginning the innovations in big data to be a commercial and a strategic weapon to leapfrog their competition and to propel companies and markets forward?  So actually, what we would say is a lot of thought will go into the business value proposition and the business case, quite rightly so. A lot of thought will go into the algorithms and the software and the hardware and the IT infrastructure that that will be built on.
      What we would want to say today is what is the thought that goes into where that solution is being built.  Because if that solution is built on a rock on a rock rather than on sand, that could be the very difference between that solution being a strategic competitive advantage for a company or failing versus the competition.  Particularly as it comes into that solutions’ speed of performance.  We’re increasingly moving to real time in this world, and whether a company builds it in a facility such as ours that can get them to real time or build it in a siloed facility that isn’t connected to other providers could be the difference between winning or losing.
      So our message today is to consider where you’re building that solution and build it on a ground of rock rather than on sand.