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Is your business in the clouds? – part 5

The trade-off of the massive growth in technology in recent years has meant heightened customer demands, with the expectation that products and services will be tracked and delivered faster than ever. While all of this poses considerable integration and infrastructural challenges, the most innovative organizations today will be those that stay on top of the game and align cloud services with other key emerging technologies in order to enhance the delivery of their goods and services.

Our effort throughout this series has been to explore some best practices for getting your business “in the clouds.” We want to dedicate this final segment to a brief exploration of the role that Big Data and Internet of Things should play in that cloud integration roadmap.




Big Data Cloud

We’ve heard a lot in recent years about the enormity and value of Big Data and how it’s increasing rapidly, doubling on the magnitude of once every two years. The growth in Big Data, as well as the expansion in data analytics platforms in recent years such as Hadoop and NoSQL, are creating new opportunities for cloud computing to become a key enabler of Big Data analytics.

Yet another new cloud computing service model that you’ll likely hear more and more about in the years to come is Analytics as a Service (AaaS). This model will provide companies with faster, scalable ways to integrate, analyze, transform, and visualize various types of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data in real time.




Due to the immense size of today’s data sets, moving this volume in and out of a cloud environment has been a challenge. However, there are a growing number of solutions emerging in this space to meet these processing demands. Platforms like Aspera and Qubole offer solutions to the Cloud I/O gridlock. Google, at its recent I/O conference, also announced Cloud Dataflow as it’s cloud-native data processing service (and successor to MapReduce), which will create data pipelines to ingest, transform, analyze data in streaming and batch modes.

SMBs should not assume it to be too early to get onboard with cloud and Big Data integrations, since sooner than later customers will be increasing their demands for real time delivery of data insights.


Internet of Things

Today’s data sizes will soon seem miniscule compared to what’s next, considering the massive growth expected in the Internet of Things market. The groundwork has already been laid with a new internet protocol, switched from an IPv4 32 bit system to an IPv6 128 bit one. What this all means is that there will be an almost unlimited number of IP addresses available to handle the huge volume of sensors, smart phones, smart factories, smart grids, smart vehicles, controllers, meters, and other devices that will be transmitting data over the Internet.

Human to machine and machine to machine communications (M2M) are creating exciting opportunities (and challenges!) for companies that will need to find ways to capture, store, analyze, and visualize all of this data. This is known as the integration challenge. As IoT/Big Data/Cloud implementations require disparate devices and carriers, multiple communication protocols, and a wide variety of applications, the complexity of these systems and infrastructures also will grow dramatically.




Small businesses should be aware of the opportunities and challenges as emerging M2M/IOT, cloud computing, and Big Data technologies bring a powerful new generation of services, platforms, and applications to the fore. Do not make the mistake of envisioning that these services are years away; the technologies are moving briskly and will be at your doorstep before you know it. Customers will soon be requesting on demand data analytics and cloud based services to give them 360 degree insights on their favorite products and brands.




As we wrap up this series on the promises of the cloud and its impact on business, a word of advice is due for those leading today’s SMBs. The sea change brought about by the adoption of new cloud technologies for business now means that IT leaders must deliberately learn to become enablers not gatekeepers. At the peril of their jobs, CIOs cannot afford to become perceived as protecting the old order of things. Rather, they must strategically contribute to and align themselves with the business strategy of the company to drive change and build value. This new mindset applies most aptly to cloud adoption.

If you haven’t done so already, get your business “in the clouds” as fast as possible and set some benchmarks for cloud services adoption before the end of 2014. Your employees will be glad you did, and your customers too! The future of your organization relies on it. So move to the cloud today and win!

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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called virtupresence.com, along with oversight and leadership of startuplabs.co - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.