Engineered systems reduce IT complexity

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For Kevin Lancaster, Oracle's technology director for big data and analytics, if a person were to build a car the same way IT builds computer systems, driving would be an absolute nightmare.

"You would be buying all the bits and pieces from different vendors and then bringing it all together. You would probably also have to employ somebody who knows how to build cars," he said, adding that while the end result may look like a car, it would have cost a great deal of money and would be totally unique and difficult to maintain going forward.

Speaking to ITWeb at the recent ITWeb Business Intelligence Summit, Lancaster used the automotive analogy to demonstrate how businesses are making their IT systems too complex, which wastes time and hampers growth. "This is how we build IT systems - buying different elements from different vendors, making IT very complicated. This is no longer sensible," he said.

Innovation is a key driver for a lot of businesses, said Lancaster during his presentation at the summit, stressing that complexity is one of the main inhibitors of true innovation.

To combat this complexity, Lancaster suggests businesses simplify their IT via engineered systems. "IT complexity in general is a barrier to supporting business innovation and growth," he said, adding that, in the world of big data, companies cannot afford to allow inflexible IT to make them fall behind their competitors. "Engineered systems combine the software, the operating system and the hardware, and this is all tuned, optimised and designed to meet the business' needs."

When addressing the big data trend, Lancaster noted two reasons why this is a hot topic at the moment - the first being an explosion in the different ways data is generated; the second is the fact that storing and analysing data is becoming more and more cost-effective. For Lancaster, big data is not a problem because of a lack of technology. Rather, it is a case of using inadequate technology to handle these huge stores of information. He suggested a combined approach, bringing together big data, in-memory, mobile and visualisation.

"There is no single killer technology that will solve your big data problems," he concluded. For Lancaster, it is a blend of technologies that will truly help business overcome big data challenges.

Follow @ITWeb and #ITWebBI2013 on Twitter for live updates from the event.

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