Laddie Suk – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services https://infocus.dellemc.com DELL EMC Global Services Blog Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:18:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Dell EMC Services Podcasts Laddie Suk – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services clean episodic Laddie Suk – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services casey.may@emc.com casey.may@emc.com (Laddie Suk – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services) Dell EMC Services Podcasts Laddie Suk – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services /wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg https://infocus.dellemc.com Bridging the Operational Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/bridging-operational-gap-accelerate-nfv-deployment/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/bridging-operational-gap-accelerate-nfv-deployment/#respond Wed, 07 Feb 2018 10:00:17 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34043 New case study-based white paper offers valuable insights for CSPs on  accelerating NFV deployment and achieving operational excellence. Welcome to the first of a 4-part blog series on NFV deployments.The blogs will provide additional perspective on our newly released white paper, which brings the operational challenges of NFV deployments to life through three real-world examples – […]

The post Bridging the Operational Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
New case study-based white paper offers valuable insights for CSPs on  accelerating NFV deployment and achieving operational excellence.

Welcome to the first of a 4-part blog series on NFV deployments.The blogs will provide additional perspective on our newly released white paper, which brings the operational challenges of NFV deployments to life through three real-world examples – detailing both where they went awry and how applying a new agile methodology would have mitigated it. I encourage you to check it out.

In 2016, AT&T Labs predicted that adopting Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) would save the company a whopping 40-50% in OPEX in coming years.

One year into its 3-year journey to virtualize 75% of its network by 2020, the company reports significant cost savings – and that’s not all. Some 1,700 businesses are using new AT&T FlexWare NFV/SDN devices and services to set up multiple Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), such as bandwidth management, virtual routers, firewalls, and other security applications on AT&T’s managed network.

Not Just a Business Opportunity—Business Survival

Like AT&T, mobile and fixed-line Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are investing in NFV/SDN to reduce CAPEX and OPEX and enable new kinds of revenue-producing services. In fact, SNS Research estimates that CSP NFV/SDN investments will rise to nearly $22 Billion by the end of 2020.

But the business case of NFV/SDN goes beyond top- and bottom-line improvements. As the following chart illustrates, CSP business survival depends on quick migration to a new business and cost models capable of delivering new kinds of added-value, on-demand services at web scale. In short, CSPs must emulate cloud service provider models to be able to compete against them and other emerging market entrants.

Why NFV/SDN?

With NFV/SDN, CSPs can leverage agility, dynamic scaling, and efficiency advantages similar to those that have been realized in IT through infrastructure virtualization and software-defined technologies.

Operators gain the flexibility to efficiently shift network capacity to where it is most needed, in order to deliver the new kinds of services that customers are demanding. It enables CSPs to keep pace with rapidly evolving technologies, by allowing changes to underlying infrastructure without impacting customer experience.

Arrested Deployment

Despite the compelling business case and investments in NFV/SDN to-date, CSPs have been slow to reap expected benefits. Often the trouble is in moving from proof-of-concept and lab evaluations into field trials and commercial deployments.

Research outlined in a new white paper on accelerating NFV deployment finds that a major obstacle to the successful deployment of dynamic, software-controlled network functions has been operational – specifically, legacy domain- and node-based silos of IT and network management that lack the service-oriented processes, skillsets and organizational structures and metrics to successfully deploy and operate NFV/SDN.

Bridging the IT/Network Operations Gap

Having personally, in my past professional life, led both Network Operations responsible for core network functions – and IT Operations responsible for the IT systems that network organizations depend on – I can attest that:

  • Successful NFV/SDN service operations require both IT and network expertise, applied in new ways
  • NFV/SDN operations challenge both: traditional IT operations and traditional network operations
  • The gap between IT and network operations is both practical and cultural – each is accustomed to dealing with different kinds of workloads/applications, resiliency mechanisms, regulatory requirements and ecosystems (e.g., (OSS/BSS vs. ERP); and each perceives that the other “goes about things in the wrong way”

Read All About It

To delve deeper into these issues – and learn about agile approaches to operating model transformation critical to NFV/SDN success – I invite you to download our new Dell EMC white paper Bridging the IT/Network Operations Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment and Achieve Operational Excellence

Based on research with MST Consulting and Dell EMC experience with than 2,000 successful cloud implementations, the paper describes methodologies that can mitigate CSP challenges and includes NFV case studies that can help CSPs avoid missteps and gain a new perspective on the right next step for their company.

Next time:  Failure to Migrate: A Case Study in NFV Deployment


Join Us At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Feb 26 – March 1

Visit us in Hall 3, Booth 3K10 for a more in-depth discussion of NFV/SDN and other topics important to you. Or contact Larry Rouse (larry.rouse@dell.com) to set up a meeting ahead of time.


Today’s Travel Tip

For those headed to Barcelona, here are my top 4 must-see sights:

  • La Sagrada Familia – Gaudi’s spectacular basilica that has been under construction since 1882
  • The Gothic Quarter with the Barcelona Cathedral
  • Picasso Museum – also in the Gothic Quarter
  • Las Ramblas – for shopping, restaurants or just people watching

The post Bridging the Operational Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/bridging-operational-gap-accelerate-nfv-deployment/feed/ 0
NFV Operating Models – How to Mix Oil and Water (also known as IT Operations and Network Operations) https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/nfv-operating-models-it-operations-network-operations/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/nfv-operating-models-it-operations-network-operations/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 10:00:26 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=29950 Network Function Virtualization (NFV) brings the concept of a common, virtualized infrastructure (now prevalent in most Telecom IT shops) to the core network.  Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) such as Virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) will operate on a robust, highly available infrastructure. I explored the myths and realities of NFV in my blog last month. […]

The post NFV Operating Models – How to Mix Oil and Water (also known as IT Operations and Network Operations) appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
Network Function Virtualization (NFV) brings the concept of a common, virtualized infrastructure (now prevalent in most Telecom IT shops) to the core network.  Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) such as Virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) will operate on a robust, highly available infrastructure. I explored the myths and realities of NFV in my blog last month.

Today, I want to focus on an often-overlooked question: “Who will operate the VNFs and NFV infrastructure? IT or Network?”

TTwo Men Talking at Nighthis topic is hugely important – for a variety of reasons.  Furthermore, it is an extremely sensitive and political debate dealing with organizational roles and responsibilities – especially in this age of downsizing.   Obviously, a blend of both organizations could be a straightforward solution.  Yet, perceptions have developed in each organization that could inhibit this blend – just as oil and water won’t mix.

And I won’t even try to compare this situation to worldwide politics (Conservatives vs. Liberals, etc.) – but the analogy is similar.  Any analysis to prepare to answer this question must begin with an understanding of the aforementioned long standing perceptions.

While at AT&T, I ran several network operations organizations responsible for core network functions in the Northern California area plus Hawaii.  While at Verizon, I was Group CIO for Network Systems – responsible for development and operations of IT systems that supported Verizon’s network organization.  Based on the above, I have experienced both sides of the debate.  Here’s just one example comparison that outlines the major perceptions:

Area Network’s Perception of IT Operations IT’s Perception of Network Operations
Availability/Keeping systems up IT doesn’t run anywhere close to 5 nines availability – how can they run an NFV infrastructure? 5 nines availability is not the issue – the key is developing management and orchestration procedures to keep virtual machines and VNFs operating to meet the demand.  Network doesn’t have experience in this approach.

How do you overcome such deep-seated perceptions and design an organizational approach that will be successful in operating NFV?  Dell EMC has excellent experience here.  A few excerpts from an upcoming white paper on this topic are next.

Considerations to design a blended organization to operate NFV (Partial List):

  • Involve both organizations in the planning activity.
  • Hire an independent consultant to help design the ‘to-be’ organizations. Dell EMC Professional Services has deep experience in performing these types of projects.  Our heritage in virtualized infrastructure coupled with our Telecom Network experience bridges the gaps and builds instant credibility with your teams.
  • Both Network and IT operations organizations have similar processes and functions – start with grouping similar functions.
  • Apply ‘-as-a-Service’ mindsets to the project. This includes modernizing processes to enable significant self-service and automatic management and orchestration for NFV and corresponding VNFs.

Final thoughts:

  • There is no “right” answer – all choices involve trade-offs. The best approach is to ask “what is the right approach for my company right now?”
  • Multiple viable options can exist – depending on the current state of operations in both entities
  • Balance structural changes and accountability with process efficiency
  • Choices don’t have to be permanent. It’s ok to design a roadmap that is an evolution rather than a flash cut and/or radical answer that may further harden divisions between Network and IT organizations.

Want more details on how to successfully mix oil and water?  Please contact me to receive an upcoming Dell EMC white paper with our complete approach to this dilemma.

Don’t miss: Make sure to check-out my recent blog series and whitepaper focused on NFV Deployment.

I hope you will join me and will pass on the link to your friends and networks. Please … subscribe, send me feedback, and check back for the next installment. If nothing else, I promise the Travel Tips will be extremely useful!

 


Today’s Travel Tip:   Where to hike when visiting Las Vegas

Just heard that Dell EMC World (Bigger and Better!) is confirmed for May, 2017 in Las Vegas.

This event will showcase Dell EMC solutions and include our Telecom portfolio of Products and Services.

I know that the schedule is jam packed with speakers, seminars and evening activities, but there are at least two hiking trails nearby for those of you desiring an outdoor adventure.  The following are my personal experiences – try one or both!

    1. Vegas X-ingJust an hour’s drive from the Las Vegas strip is Red Rock Canyon. http://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/.
      This state park provides easy access to spectacular red bluffs and desert flora and fauna (e.g. Tortoise).  You can drive the loop entirely or stop and take one of several loop trails.  Bring water and snacks.  Total time needed (hotel door to door) is 3-4 hours.
    2. For the more adventurous, try the Mary Jane Falls Trail in the Spring Mountains Recreation Area which includes Mount Charleston. .
      Mary Jane Falls TrailThis challenging trail starts at about 7800 feet above sea level and goes up from there to almost 9000 feet above sea level.  About 3 miles out and back, or more than 1.5 hours round trip.  Great views of the mountains and valleys – and yes there are two falls at the end (top) of the trail.  Bring water, snacks and a sweatshirt.  Closest restaurant is Mt. Charleston Resort for a solid meal. Total time needed (hotel door to door) is 4-5 hours.

The post NFV Operating Models – How to Mix Oil and Water (also known as IT Operations and Network Operations) appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/nfv-operating-models-it-operations-network-operations/feed/ 1
Network Function Virtualization (NFV) – Myth or Reality? https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/network-function-virtualization-myth-reality/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/network-function-virtualization-myth-reality/#respond Mon, 02 Jan 2017 10:00:30 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=29873 Top of mind for most Telecom, Cable and Service Providers these days is Network Function Virtualization, or NFV.  Is it the elusive unicorn, never to be found?  Or, are the benefits real? What should a Service Provider be doing today – to achieve the promised benefits in the future?  Let’s take a closer look. The […]

The post Network Function Virtualization (NFV) – Myth or Reality? appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
Top of mind for most Telecom, Cable and Service Providers these days is Network Function Virtualization, or NFV.  Is it the elusive unicorn, never to be found?  Or, are the benefits real? What should a Service Provider be doing today – to achieve the promised benefits in the future?  Let’s take a closer look.

The Evolution to Network Function Virtualization (NFV)

Service Provider networks need to evolve toward an IT-like infrastructure to meet the needs of diverse applications and to compete with emerging competitors.  This requires a holistic storage, compute and network solution.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and its cousin Software Defined Networks (SDN) are the tools to make this transition, and they provide the following:

  1. Programmability of resources
  2. Open-ness
  3. Virtualized network functions for greater competition and operational scalability
  4. Multivendor/multidomain/multilayer control
  5. Abstracted applications for a faster innovation cycle

This is an evolution, not an overlay – a Service Provider’s embedded network infrastructure needs to coexist and migrate. For more on NFV and SDN I recommend reading my Stu Bennington’s blog, What are NFV and SDN, and why should I care?

Service Providers need to have options for in-house solutions (functionality and reliability) and also open source/ecosystems (abstraction = choice, COTS = web-speed upgrades and economies of scale).

In short, NFV dramatically changes a Service Provider’s network from a traditional architecture where hardware, storage and network infrastructure is bundled tightly with Network Functions – all provided by Network Equipment Manufacturers.

OSS BSS

The architecture above provides an overview showing how Network Equipment Manufacturers offered complete racks of equipment to deliver a Network Function.

OSS BSS 2

Figure 2 shows the NFV approach – enabling Network Functions to benefit from the same virtualization technology that has become commonplace in IT application architectures today.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV): Myth or Reality?

To answer this question, consider the following:

  • Many major Service Providers have selected an NFV architecture, are currently identifying key elements of their planned ecosystem and are conducting lab trials/proofs of concept.
  • However, an equal number of Service Providers are aware of the concept and potential benefits but do not have specific plans.

Furthermore, the target benefits of NFV implementation can vary significantly based on the answers to three key questions:

  • Which function / element do you virtualize? (drives potential CAPEX savings)Example: Router, Switch, EPC, RRH, Firewall, DNS, Management Systems
  • How do you implement orchestration in a multi-vendor, multi-domain environment? (drives potential OPEX savings)Example: Virtual CPE Service, Service chaining
  • Do you implement robust application-driven programmability? (drives potential new revenue opportunities)Example: VNF-FG association with dedicated bearers/QCIs, mobile video local cache

Dell EMC’s experience is that NFV is rapidly transitioning from Myth to Reality.  However, Telecom service providers may erroneously move through development of the technology without truly having a clear business case, leading to missteps, and delays.

How We Help

Dell EMC’s approach to helping Telecom service providers realized the benefits of NFV follows a pragmatic and business-focused path.  It begins with a Network and Services Virtualization Workshop.  This Workshop gets everyone on the same page with respect to NFV opportunities and explores initial use cases that are the highest priority to implement.

Next, we recommend an onsite test of NFV infrastructure technology coupled with at least one VNF vendor for the highest priority use case identified in the prior Workshop.

The final step in launching a successful journey to NFV involves developing a solid business case and ROI that can be shared with executive management.  The business case must take a holistic approach to Operating Expense and Capital Expense – not just an initial one time cost of implementing NFV.

Want more details on how to successfully begin your NFV journey from Myth to Reality?  Please contact me!

 Next Up:  NFV Operating Models – How to Mix Oil and Water (also known as IT Operations and Network Operations)

Also, make sure to check-out my recent blog series and whitepaper focused on NFV Deployment.

I hope you will join me and will pass on the link to your friends and networks. Please … subscribe, send me feedback, and check back for the next installment. If nothing else, I promise the Travel Tips will be extremely useful!


Today’s Travel Tip:   For those going to Mobile World Congress, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona makes a lasting impression on all who visit.

It has been more than 9 months since I visited the Sagrada Familia during Mobile World Congress in 2016.  It is a spectacular Basilica in Barcelona that was designed by Antoni Gaudi starting in 1882.  Construction has taken more than 130 years and will not be complete until 2026 at the earliest.  Art critic Rainer Zerbst said “It is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art”.

It continues to make a profound impression on me as I review my attempts to photograph its immense scale and beauty.  Anyone going to Barcelona must visit! More details can be found at http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/.  I plan to visit again during MWC 2017!

Barcelona

The post Network Function Virtualization (NFV) – Myth or Reality? appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/network-function-virtualization-myth-reality/feed/ 0
It’s Back: Telecom Merger Mania – The Top Ten Ways to Use Big Data in Mega Mergers https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/top-ten-ways-use-big-data-mega-mergers/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/top-ten-ways-use-big-data-mega-mergers/#comments Tue, 20 Dec 2016 10:00:28 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=29784 With AT&T’s announced merger with Time Warner, Verizon’s announced acquisition of Yahoo’s network business plus XO’s fiber network, Windstream’s plans to purchase Earthlink and CenturyLink’s announced purchase of Level 3, the Telecom Industry’s merger mania is back with a vengeance – over $127B in deals announced in the past 8 months.  And more are likely […]

The post It’s Back: Telecom Merger Mania – The Top Ten Ways to Use Big Data in Mega Mergers appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
With AT&T’s announced merger with Time Warner, Verizon’s announced acquisition of Yahoo’s network business plus XO’s fiber network, Windstream’s plans to purchase Earthlink and CenturyLink’s announced purchase of Level 3, the Telecom Industry’s merger mania is back with a vengeance – over $127B in deals announced in the past 8 months.  And more are likely on the way.

Taking a closer look at the largest merger (and likely the most controversial) – AT&T’s CEO states its merger with Time Warner is designed to “get the most content to the most people at the lowest prices delivered on any screen, particularly mobile.”

Many, including my hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, support this ‘Vertical’ merger.  In an October 24, 2016 editorial it stated “Trends in the digital world are moving in the direction of giving more options to consumers, not fewer. Good.”

Both AT&T’s CEO as well as The Chicago Tribune’s editorial agree on one thing:  The merger is designed to enable AT&T to compete head-to-head with cable operators using 5G technology – and it aims to disrupt long-established distribution channels.

But how do you make these mergers successful?  Certainly vertical mergers may have greater challenges than horizontal mergers.  Vertical mergers are geared to provide new and interesting bundles and services to customers – to satisfy their appetite for content and bandwidth.

Yet, even the FCC has recently weighed in with proposed rules to require Internet Service Providers to ask permission of their customers to collect and use personal information such as Web browsing history.

So how do you design the right bundles of services that will be attractive to customers when you are hamstrung by such onerous FCC regulations?

Job 1 is to turn this restriction into an advantage:  Promise your customers a bevy of benefits if they allow access to this information and use it – both anonymously to help design new services as well as specifically to help improve a customer’s individual service.

With the above as a backdrop, here are my Top Ten Ways to Use Big Data in Mega Mergers:

  1. Suggest new content based on a customer’s mobile viewing habits, with a preference to content produced by internal business units. For Example: Verizon offering content from The Huffington Post.
  1. Automate the suggestion of new content based on a customer’s mobile application usage, such as location and recent purchases via mobile apps.
  1. Leverage data analytics to identify and upsell customers to customized usage plans as they approach monthly plan limits.
  1. Provide customized choices, content and service options in real time to your high value customers as determined by their total lifetime value across an entire vertically-integrated business. For Example: AT&T offering customized bundles to DirecTV customers based on customer longevity.
  1. Develop new offers focused on micro-segmentation of customers – also across an entire vertically-integrated business
  1. Provide upgraded ‘white glove’ customer care in case of network problems for your high value customers. One example of ‘white glove’ service is a proactive notification to a high value customer of an immediate credit to their account within seconds of a dropped wireless call or data connection.
  1. Provide more customized options in real-time for consumer credits in case of network problems for high-value customers. Examples could be a wide range of choices from (standard) bill credits to customized options of free upgrades to high usage tiers, free music downloads or a free episode of a favorite show.  The last three options would be customized to their specific recent usage history.
  1. Implement Item 6 above to reduce Operating Expense (Opex). The proactive, automatic treatment of high value customers reduces calls to your call centers by 15% – and correspondingly reduces your Opex.
  1. Implement an integrated application infrastructure for rapid and low cost establishment of the Big Data analytic environments needed to support items 1-8.
  1. Implement an integrated IT service catalog (with easy provisioning of Big Data sandboxes, for example) plus a standardized, modern operating model. In this way, businesses within the merged company can continue to choose and pay for IT services that they need – but efficiencies lead to an overall lower Opex.

Okay, so the last two items are not strictly Big Data – but they provide a foundation for the rapid implementation of Big Data analytics environments necessary for items 1-8.  Dell EMC’s experience in working with clients that once you’ve identify the right use cases for analytics the biggest challenges for Big Data projects is the rapid access to analytics environments and data sources to ingest.

Everything I mentioned above is pragmatic and achievable with a solution of Big Data Analytics operating on data ingested from many sources within a Telecom company as well as external sources plus actions taken on an individual customer basis.  In addition, transformation of the disparate IT infrastructures and operating models lead to significant Opex and Capex savings for the enterprise.  And many of the above techniques are already in production around the world using Dell EMC solutions.

Want more information on how to grow revenue and reduce Opex and Capex with the above techniques?  Please contact me!

Next Up:  Network Function Virtualization – Myth or Reality?

I hope you will join me and will pass on the link to your friends and networks. Please … subscribe, send me feedback, and check back for the next installment. If nothing else, I promise the Travel Tips will be extremely useful!

Today’s Travel Tip: Vacation in Puerto Rico – For American’s (like me) it’s like going to a foreign country, excepts it is not (a foreign country, that it), and for the international traveler it is a hidden gem. 

  • Great beaches all around
  • Old San Juan has plenty for any history buff
  • The average temperature is 70-80F (or 21-26C)
  • There is an endless supply of rum
  • For Telecommunication geeks and movie buffs, take a ride to the Arecibo Radio Telescope Observatory – and take the ‘VIP Tour’ if it is offered. Even if it is not, you’ll enjoy seeing and learning about the cutting edge science that takes place here.  It’s much more than what was shown in the 007 movie GoldenEye.  I had a great time –as shown in the photo below.

laddie

The post It’s Back: Telecom Merger Mania – The Top Ten Ways to Use Big Data in Mega Mergers appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/top-ten-ways-use-big-data-mega-mergers/feed/ 1
Top 10 Business Transformation Best Practices https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/top-10-business-transformation-best-practices/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/top-10-business-transformation-best-practices/#respond Tue, 08 Sep 2015 04:21:46 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=24416 Why is it so hard to transform a business area with IT as a catalyst? In this blog, I’ll take a look at the top challenges to an IT-led business transformation – and the top 10 ways to be successful: # Challenge What is the Core Issue? EMC Best Practices 1 Business is not engaged. […]

The post Top 10 Business Transformation Best Practices appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
Why is it so hard to transform a business area with IT as a catalyst?

In this blog, I’ll take a look at the top challenges to an IT-led business transformation – and the top 10 ways to be successful:

# Challenge What is the Core Issue? EMC Best Practices
1 Business is not engaged. CIO told to transform the business and improve overall business performance. Business unit leadership does not align with CIO. Does not view IT as strategic. Has their own “shadow IT” or, to use another term in place at some companies, “Business-led IT.” CIO must identify and implement 2-3 top priority areas to provide IT as a Service to the business units. In this way, CIO can “prove” to the business units that IT can provide value on a cost-effective basis. This would be the stepping stone to engaging with the business unit for strategic initiatives.
2 Business wants Big Data Analytics and is going to a niche player without involving IT. Same as above. CIO should point out that 1) almost every Big Data project requires data from IT systems, and 2) if every BU took this approach, data silos would be created. Instead, CIO should adopt a Data Lake approach with analytic tools to provide sandboxes for business units to achieve their desires.
3 Business wants to transform – by going directly to a cloud provider for PaaS – not involving IT. Same as above. Same as the best practices advice for item 1. Implement ‘self-service’ and hybrid cloud technologies to allow IT to be a broker between the business and various cloud providers. This enables CIO to exert governance, security, and other policy controls, not to mention financial discipline.
4 Business wants to transform but has no resources to spare to design the new operating model. Business is resource constrained. CIO uses IT business analysts familiar with the specific process area to drive transformation with review and approval by business unit leadership. In addition, CIO may use outside resources (for example, EMC Professional Services skilled in both IT Transformation and relevant Industry processes) to supplement transformational teams.
5 IT wants to lead a business transformation but has no resources to spare. IT is resource constrained. CIO may use outside resources (for example, EMC Professional Services skilled in both IT transformation and relevant industry processes) to supplement IT teams.
6 IT wants to lead a business transformation but doesn’t have change management skilled resources. Same as above. Same as above.
7 Business wants minimal changes as part of the transformation. Business believes that new systems should not change the way the current processes operate. True transformation change requires a fresh look at how a business area operates. CIO should sponsor innovation sessions jointly with the business to discuss. Change is the only constant in business.
8 Business wants one “big bang” implementation of the new operating model. Business want to quickly get the pain of change completed…e.g. ‘tear the bandage off fast’. Can you spell ‘RISK’? CIO to work with the business to implement transformational change in manageable ”chunks” to effectively reduce risk.
9 Business has no funding for transformational projects. Funding is always an issue. CIO should partner with business unit leaders to prioritize funds. See also next item.
10 IT has no funding for transformational projects. Perhaps too much of the IT budget is going to systems maintenance, rather than ‘Improve the business’. Consider EMC’s IT Transformation Workshop and benchmarking service to review what your peers in the industry are doing, compare your metrics to the industry bests, and learn techniques to free up funds for transformational projects.

Keep these in mind as you drive forward with IT-led business transformations!

Next Up: Network Function Virtualization – Myth or Reality?

I hope you will join me and will pass on the link to your friends and networks. Please … subscribe, send me feedback, and check back for the next installment. If nothing else, I promise the Travel Tips will be extremely useful!

Today’s Travel Tip:  Must See Sights and Favorite Gifts to bring back from International Travel – Part 2 – Europe

Typically, I am asked, “You’ve traveled to X. I am going there…what should I see and what should I bring back?” The following is by no means exhaustive but what I consider the top sights and unique gifts representative of the countries I have visited. Generally these gifts are readily available throughout the country as well as in the airport for last-minute shopping. For the Americas, see last month’s blog. Here, we’ll cover Western Europe:

Country Must See Sights Unique Gift
Belgium Brussels: Grand Place, Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert Chocolate, Lace
England London: City tour of London. A concert, opera or ballet at Royal Opera House. Too many more to list. Anything from Harrods with a Harrods Logo
France Paris: Louvre Museum, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, many more Wine, gourmet treats
Germany Berlin, Rhine River cruise, Heidelberg Hummel figurines, anything from a Christmas market, wine
Greece Acropolis in Athens Wood items made from Olive trees, Olive oil, Ouzo
Italy Rome: Vatican, Coliseum Swords (be sure to put in checked luggage, not in carry-on), glass, wine
Netherlands City Tour via the canals, Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum Delftware pottery, cheese
Spain Museum del Prado, Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real Lladro figurines, leather coats/purses
Switzerland Matterhorn, Geneva Chocolates

 

The post Top 10 Business Transformation Best Practices appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/top-10-business-transformation-best-practices/feed/ 0
Debunking Five Big Data Myths https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/debunking-five-big-data-myths/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/debunking-five-big-data-myths/#respond Tue, 08 Jul 2014 13:00:58 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=19183 Like my colleague, Bill Schmarzo, in his recent Point-Counterpoint: Eight (No, Nine!) Problems with Big Data blog where he takes on the New York Times, I felt the need to comment on an article I read in the Washington Post entitled “Five Myths about Big Data” by Samuel Arbesman [August 18, 2013, Outlook Section, Page […]

The post Debunking Five Big Data Myths appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
Like my colleague, Bill Schmarzo, in his recent Point-Counterpoint: Eight (No, Nine!) Problems with Big Data blog where he takes on the New York Times, I felt the need to comment on an article I read in the Washington Post entitled “Five Myths about Big Data” by Samuel Arbesman [August 18, 2013, Outlook Section, Page B2, The Washington Post].

I feel some of the observations were off base—which I will address shortly. Some I actually agree with—but with a twist. Yet the article points out a key issue that we big data specialists have to deal with:  these perceptions are out there. In addition, as conventional wisdom states, “perception is reality.” Coming from the author, who is an applied mathematician and network scientist, this commentary predictably takes a jaded view of the need for, and benefits of big data analytics. Let’s address each one of his myths:

Alleged Myth about Big Data (per Samuel Arbesman) Key Argument that Supports Myth

My View

“Big data has a clear definition” “There are a lot of definitions, a lot of confusion and industry experts often end up talking past one another.” My knee-jerk reaction is “so what?!” Just take a business-focused approach. What is the business problem that a communications service provider is experiencing? How can you improve service and network quality for your best customers? Then, dig into the datasets with detailed analytics. Borrowing a phrase from that great movie, Apollo 13:  “Work the problem!”
“Big data is new” “Big data isn’t much more than a sexier version of statistics, with a few new tools that allow us to think more broadly about what data can be and how we generate it.” I just don’t agree with the author on this. In the telecom world, typical network data provides fundamental information regarding alarms and faults—the most typical being hard outages. Big data analytic data techniques allow service providers to monitor network quality in two ways that are radically new:

1) Analyzing massive streams of network performance data enables network operators to detect subtle trends that, if ignored, lead to significant outages.

2) Big data analytics applied to data from a customer’s viewpoint provides deep insight into how your customers actually perceive network quality. Service provider monitoring systems are often unable to obtain this insight.

“Big data is revolutionary” “When a phenomenon is large, we usually don’t need huge amounts of data to recognize it. Revolutionary for an individual? Probably not.” First, I agree that big data by itself isn’t revolutionary. EMC’s approach is focused on coupling big data analytics with speed! Traditional business intelligence platforms can tease out trends from big datasets. These take time—and lots of it. The revolutionary step is performing these analytics in near-realtime. The result is immediate business impact—not weeks or months later. One telecom industry example: a service provider is able to recognize a service problem for high-value customers and proactively contact them to apologize and provide a credit—all within seconds of an event.
“Bigger data is better” “Many interesting questions can be explored with little datasets. Too often, massive data sets lack a temporal dimension. We need long data, not just big data.” I fully agree with the author’s rationale:  massive datasets need a time element. What is unique in EMC’s approach (as described above) is the ability to 1) rapidly ingest massive data, 2) act on it based on analytic parameters, and 3) trigger business-focused actions in seconds. I’d say it this way:  EMC’s approach is both big data and fast data.
“Big data means the end of scientific theories” “Having more data won’t substitute for thinking hard, recognizing anomalies and exploring deep truths.” Again, I agree (sort of) with the premise, but for different reasons. In short, it’s not just “big data.” You need the industry-focused analytics and knowledgeable data scientists and experts to configure big data analytics for a service provider. This is exactly the approach that EMC takes. We invest in the hard thinking and bring starter kits with pre-built analytic use cases, and then do local configuration for each specific customer.

Other objections that I have come across in my discussions with communications provider senior executives – and my actual responses:

Objection The Perception behind the Objection

How I Respond to Objections

“Why should I buy a big data platform vs. a point solution to do a specific implementation of analytics/actions for a specific function?” Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions are lower cost, already have desired functionality and a roadmap for enhancements. Your competitive differentiation comes from creating a unique value proposition for your customers. Yes, big data analytic solutions require some tailoring, but EMC solutions bring analytic use cases to every client. These require configuration – not software development.We welcome the opportunity to compete for value. And my final perspective is that you get what you pay for.
“Selecting a big data platform – for multiple functions – is hard to sell internally. More functions imply more people to be consulted and approve this large initiative.” Obtaining corporate-wide executive agreement on a big data platform is difficult. Identifying stakeholders, determining requirements for multiple needs and developing an implementation roadmap are all daunting tasks. I agree with McKinsey’s perspective:  “Select a few high-potential areas in which to experiment with big data, and then rapidly scale successes.”

In conclusion – don’t give up!  Start small, celebrate success and evangelize!

Next Up:  Transforming a Business area with IT as a Catalyst – Why is this so hard?

I hope you will join me and will pass on the link to your friends and networks. Please … subscribe, send me feedback, and check back for the next installment. If nothing else, I promise the Travel Tips will be extremely useful!

Today’s Travel Tip:  “Must see” sights and favorite gifts to bring back from international travel

Typically, I am asked, “You’ve traveled to X. I am going there…what should I see and what should I bring back?” The following is by no means exhaustive but what I consider the top sights and gifts representative of the countries I have visited. Generally these gifts are readily available throughout the country as well as in the airport for last-minute shopping. We’ll start with the Americas:

Country

Must See Sights

Gift

Argentina City tour of Buenos Aires, plus a dinner/tango show at Carlos Gardel’s.A concert at Teatro Colon, a spectacular opera/concert hall in Buenos Aires. Havanna brand Dulce de Leche (a wonderful caramel spread)Leather goods made locally
Aruba Any beach Anything beach-related: you’ll treasure remembering the time on the beach
Brazil Rio: Sugar Loaf, Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer statue), Ipanema and Copacabana beachesSao Paulo: Fabulous Sala Sao Paulo for an orchestra concert Garoto-brand chocolate- and nut-covered bon-bonsHavaianas flip-flopsCoffee beans.
Canada Toronto: CN Tower, Hockey game Maple syrup assortments
Chile Tour of Santiago including the old city. Winery tours. Skiing. Chilean wine—my favorite is Concha y Toro.Lapis Lazuli, which is a blue stone found in only a few places in the world—including Chile.
Curacao Scuba diving (with a 15-minute lesson, no prior experience is needed) in the National Aquarium amid manta rays, sharks, and giant sea turtles.  (The sharks and sea turtles are in adjacent enclosures, but you can feed them through the nets) Blue Curacao liqueurAnything beach-related
Mexico Plaza de la Constitucion, or Zocalo, includes the National Palace and Metropolitan CathedralTeotihuacan, a series of pyramids about 25 miles outside the city Tequila, coffee beansSilver jewelry
Panama Panama Canal (Miraflores locks and visitor center)Rain forest excursion Local artisan crafts. Note that the famous Panama hat, while popular, is typically made in Ecuador
Peru Machu Picchu (via train from Cusco) is a “must see” side trip (allow 3 days)If you are only in Lima, then Huaca Pucllana restaurant at the ruins. Silver jewelry

 

The post Debunking Five Big Data Myths appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/debunking-five-big-data-myths/feed/ 0
It’s not just Big Data… It’s Gigantic Data: A Telecom Case Study https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/its-not-just-big-data-its-gigantic-data-a-telecom-case-study/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/its-not-just-big-data-its-gigantic-data-a-telecom-case-study/#respond Mon, 16 Jun 2014 14:36:00 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=18834 Okay, here it is. I know you’ve been waiting for this. So without further intro… Business Problem: A global mobile communications service provider wanted to understand customer location and travel patterns to support realtime promotions, advertising and up-sell of services. In addition, they desired additional, textured information to improve the quality of their network operations […]

The post It’s not just Big Data… It’s Gigantic Data: A Telecom Case Study appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
Okay, here it is. I know you’ve been waiting for this. So without further intro…

Business Problem:

A global mobile communications service provider wanted to understand customer location and travel patterns to support realtime promotions, advertising and up-sell of services. In addition, they desired additional, textured information to improve the quality of their network operations and provide enhanced customer service for their most important customers.

EMC’s Solution:

We bundled several existing assets from Pivotal together with EMC Professional Services to create an overall realtime analytics service solution for this carrier. An overview of the solution that we implemented is depicted below:

Real time analytics case study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stored raw data as it was received for historical trends and analytics.

We ran realtime analytics models to identify patterns in the subscriber location data and to act upon the targeted behavior event.

We loaded the network control data in a realtime streaming mode for more than 10 million subscribers. A single unit of our solution is capable of ingesting data up to 10TB/hr and it has linear scalability (i.e., 20TB/hr with two units).

Business Benefits:

This client benefited by improved targeting of, and interaction with customers on multiple devices—not just smart phones. This resulted in wider coverage for targeted marketing messages. In addition, the client realized improved efficiency of marketing expenditures and was able to generate additional revenue from marketing agencies.

One example was specific location-based marketing: to identify subscribers that were approaching a subway entrance. The carrier’s normal coverage was not as effective underground, so they invested heavily in WiFi networks in the subway. Yet, their WiFi service was not getting expected “take” rates. This solution was used to send specific messages to subscribers about to enter the subway—to inform and provide an incentive to try the carrier’s WiFi.

Location based marketing

A second example was a campaign to communicate with subscribers within 30 seconds of experiencing a dropped call on the network.

This campaign had strenuous requirements, including realtime target selection of customers who met the following criteria:

  • Experienced a dropped call anywhere on the mobile operator’s network
  • Were also in the top tier of customers based on lifetime value to the operator
  • Determine this within 30 seconds of the subscriber experiencing a dropped call

In this case, the action generated by our solution was to inform the users that the network operator was aware that the dropped call occurred and provide them a credit to their account.

The examples cited above are two of many that are being implemented—by this mobile carrier and others.

If you want more details that cannot be included here due to space constraints, please contact me at Laddie.Suk@emc.com. I welcome your request!

Next Up:  How to Respond to Five Myths about Big Data

I hope you will join me and will pass on the link to your friends and networks. Please … subscribe, send me feedback, and check back for the next installment. If nothing else, I promise the Travel Tips will be extremely useful!

Today’s Travel Tip:   Stay In Touch With Home While You’re On the Road

This tip may seem pedestrian, but it absolutely helps bridge the miles/kilometers while you travel.

Email, phone calls, and texts don’t replace face-to-face communications. Webcams enable you to check in with the family while you are on the road. Webex, Gotomeeting, LiveMeeting and other packages enable video point-to-point calls and video among multiple family members… even across technology (Mac, iPad, Windows PC, iPhone, etc.)

Set up a routine time of day and day of week for the call. Send invites out with links to your web conferencing platform.

While web conferencing has improved dramatically in recent years, I still find that a landline together with a separate audio conference bridge provides higher audio quality than using PC microphones/speakers in the Web conferencing platform.

Staying in touch with home should be on everyone’s travel itinerary. Use your business technology tools to keep the work/life balance in harmony.

 

 

 

 

 

The post It’s not just Big Data… It’s Gigantic Data: A Telecom Case Study appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/its-not-just-big-data-its-gigantic-data-a-telecom-case-study/feed/ 0
Tackling Big Data Projects: How can they Benefit My Company? https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/tackling-big-data-project-how-can-they-benefit-my-company/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/tackling-big-data-project-how-can-they-benefit-my-company/#respond Fri, 23 Aug 2013 14:24:40 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=14967 I’m back after a short pause in blogging.   I have been on the road to Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico, meeting with Telecom clients.  As expected, most of the discussions revolved around Big Data plans and initiatives.  This may be a surprise to you, but not everyone embraces Big Data.  I heard an earful – […]

The post Tackling Big Data Projects: How can they Benefit My Company? appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
I’m back after a short pause in blogging.   I have been on the road to Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico, meeting with Telecom clients.  As expected, most of the discussions revolved around Big Data plans and initiatives.  This may be a surprise to you, but not everyone embraces Big Data.  I heard an earful – from business leaders as well as IT leaders.

This blog focuses on how to overcome common objections to Big Data projects.

Common Objections to Big Data Projects and How to Respond

The following were actual direct quotes from a variety of senior and middle executives of Telecommunications companies.   The objections come from a mix of business as well as Information Technology executives.  Yes, some are quite shocking, but all are revealing.  Obviously, not everyone is ready for Big Data.  The quotes represent the spectrum of knowledge and mis-perception that we need to overcome to successfully advocate Big Data projects that provide business value to Telecom companies.

I have studied each objection and given my interpretation of the perception behind the objection.  Remember, perception is reality, and you have to deal with it appropriately.  My recommendations for each objection are listed below.  (Credit for some of the content below belongs to Carey James, EMC Solutions Partner for Big Data.  He joined me in my travels and helped respond to these client comments.)

Here goes:

Picture1New_Orleans_City_of_Old_Romance_and_New_Opportunity_Crop_p_23_MoneybagsThe Perception behind the Objection

Historically, data storage has been expensive.   Beyond hardware costs, popular software Business Intelligence (BI) packages are priced by terabyte of data managed.  IT costs have gone through the roof when adding data to already expensive legacy platforms.

How EMC Responds to Objections

This one is relatively easy:

download (1)

  • Prices for storage have gone down from over a dollar per GB in 2005 to less than 5 cents per GB today.
  • Storage tiering enables even lower cost storage for infrequently used data.
  • EMC’s comprehensive software suite (now part of Pivotal) enables Big Data projects to scale efficiently.
  • At many clients, we are able to prove business case savings by offloading legacy BI platforms, and use those savings to fund Big Data projects

See also other answers below.

Picture2

The Perception behind the Objection

These objections typically arise from executives who I’ll characterize as ‘unenlightened’.  They feel their current organization and processes are just fine.  They are resistant to considering new approaches or techniques.  Everything would be fine if they just had more money.

How EMC Responds to Objections

These objections are harder to overcome.  Some approaches: building-the-bridge-to-success

  • Big Data projects give you more insights and texture so that you can spend your current Network budget more effectively.
  • Big Data projects provide analytics to enable you to specifically invest where your most valuable customers are.
  • Share Case Studies (in detail) to show successes.

Picture5

The Perception behind the Objection

These two quotes are typical when an executive has only a superficial knowledge of Big Data.  They have developed perceptions based on what they read and hear from peers.  They do not see applications in their business.

How EMC Responds to Objections

images (1)Gentle, tactful responses to these objections are the key.  For the first objection, a key approach is numerous case studies. For the second, A ‘Planning/Visioning’ workshop for Big Data is what EMC typically conducts.  This onsite workshop brings the potential of Big Data to a specific client executive team.

Additionally, point out that the nuanced texture of analytics findings (complemented by visualization presentation formats) surpasses anything that they currently have.

Picture9


The Perception behind the Objection
As evidenced by the above quotes, executives sometimes fear ‘Consulting-itis’, which is the symptom when consultants review a business looking for problems, then present findings that the executive team already knows.  They also fear that Big Data workshops will consume large amounts of their time with minimal outputs.

How EMC Responds to Objections

imagesEMC has developed the Visioning workshop into a well-planned sequence of activities (including 2 weeks of pre-work leveraging actual client data).  It culminates in a one day executive workshop that comes right to the point: what are the highest priority Big Data use cases for the specific client – and what is the business case.

Picture8

 

The Perception behind the Objection
This objection is often voiced by IT executives since they have a narrow view of Big Data.  They envision a Big Data project that is merely a replacement BI system.

How EMC Responds to Objectionsimages (2)
Continue to stress that like all successful IT projects, a partnership with the business is a necessary success factor.

Point out that IT can provide even more business value when key business units (Marketing, Customer Care, Network) are involved in planning the scope.

Picture10

 

The Perception behind the Objection
This objection also originates from uninformed executives – that have not been educated on the promise of Big Data solutions and benefits.

How EMC Responds to Objections
There are too many public case studies that show how Big Data solutions provide competitive advantage.

  • Educate your client about these case studies and
  • Bring the point home by taking their data and conducting a Proof of Value – with use cases for their specific needs.

Picture11


The Perception behind the Objection
The industry’s use of new terms, such as Data Scientist and Data Architect, has fostered a perception that this technology cannot be implemented without large numbers of new hires.

How EMC Responds to Objectionsimages (3)
EMC’s Big Data solutions and methodologies leverage EMC Consultants in many roles, including Data Scientist and Data Architect.  Clients do not need to wait to train their own staff.

In addition, Pivotal’s new HAWQ product (Hadoop with Query) enables anyone with SQL training the ability to leverage their SQL skills for Big Data analytics.

I hope the above helps you as you advocate for Big Data projects.  I welcome your thoughts as well as other objections you have seen in the marketplace.

Next Up: A Telecom Big Data Case Study

I hope you will join me and will pass on the link to your friends and networks.  Please … subscribe, send me feedback, and check back for the next installment.   If nothing else, I promise the Travel Tips will be extremely useful!

Today’s Travel Tip:   Free In-Flight Internet Access for American Express Platinum Cardholders

No, I do not receive commissions from American Express or any other product or download (2)service I mention in this blog.  This one is a true gem.  How many times have you completed an important presentation while on a flight – and had to wait until landing to send to your client/boss/business associate?  This tip is courtesy of Antonio Cancino, an EMC Consultant who is constantly on the road:

Gogo® In-flight Wi-Fi
Gogo is the leading provider of in-flight Wi-Fi and offers Internet connectivity on airplanes flying routes in the continental United States.  Participating airlines include Air Canada, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America Airlines.

American Express Platinum Card Benefit details include:

  • Card members use their Corporate Platinum Card to purchase a Gogo Flight Pass, good for Gogo access on one flight, and then receive a statement credit covering the cost.
  • Corporate Platinum Card members are eligible to receive 10 statement credits each calendar year.

This is a good deal!   Of course, you can just relax and enjoy the movie on the flight!

The post Tackling Big Data Projects: How can they Benefit My Company? appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/tackling-big-data-project-how-can-they-benefit-my-company/feed/ 0
It’s not just Big Data … It’s Gigantic Data! Are you ready? https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/its-not-just-big-data-its-gigantic-data-are-you-ready/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/its-not-just-big-data-its-gigantic-data-are-you-ready/#respond Mon, 01 Apr 2013 22:12:53 +0000 http://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=13010 Highlights from the Next Generation Telecom Conference, Latin America This Blog takes a deep dive into the big data issues facing service providers and provides a quick preview of EMC’s new, unique solution to solve big data in the Communications Industry. For those of you that have been on an extended ocean cruise (for the […]

The post It’s not just Big Data … It’s Gigantic Data! Are you ready? appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
Highlights from the Next Generation Telecom Conference, Latin America

This Blog takes a deep dive into the big data issues facing service providers and provides a quick preview of EMC’s new, unique solution to solve big data in the Communications Industry.

For those of you that have been on an extended ocean cruise (for the past 2 years) and just got back to civilization, please consider the following:

Publication:    The Wall Street Journal’s Special Report: CIO Network (January 22, 2013)

Best Quote:    “We are drowning in data.  We don’t have enough ability to analyze it.”  – Chris Anderson, CEO, 3D Robotics

EMC partnered with IDG to dig into this trend for Network Service providers and found some interesting facts:

Alongside two of my colleagues, EMC facilitated a Service Provider workshop on this topic at the March 2013 Next Generation Telecom Conference in Panama City, Panama.   We polled the audience and found uniform agreement on these trends.  The Latin American Service Providers elaborated on the following concerns:

1)   A Service Provider has more data to manage and analyze.

  • Data generated by each subscriber growing, with more devices on the network and more data in the cloud.
  • “The need to store and analyze data, particularly Call Detail Records (CDRs), is something we can’t deal with.”
  • Our internal users are asking for more detailed data across longer periods of time to support deeper analysis.
  • “We don’t have the compute power to process all this data.”

2)  A Service Provider has more demanding business users.

  • New business opportunities are causing demand for more real-time data at higher frequencies.
  • My business users want to perform analytics using many other data sources, some unstructured and in the cloud.’
  • “We don’t have enough skilled resources in IT to perform these analyses.”

 3)  The Network itself is the problem.

  • Networks cannot scale at same rate of network data growth.
  • “Networks are becoming bottlenecks for data transport back to a central hub.” This trend is particularly true in Latin America, where transport costs (inter- and intra-country) are a significant barrier that restrict and otherwise delay channels through which data is flowing.

4)  A Service Provider has less time to react.

  • Offerings such as location based services require reactions within seconds not minutes / hours.
  •  Increase in automation (machine learning, Software Defined Networks) will drive need for more real-time network data and analysis.
  • “We need new ways to extract value from all this data.”

These issues are driving a major change in how network data should be managed and analyzed. EMC’s approach?  Read on … in our view, the biggest single trend for 2013 is to move decision making much closer to the business event itself. 

Why?  Today’s IT systems and networks can cause delays in capturing the data and delivering the data to a traditional central hub (data warehouse) for processing.   With the explosion of data, central hubs become data processing bottlenecks themselves, causing delays in processing and providing decision recommendations.  As a result, the business misses an opportunity to take action.

Leading Service Providers will look for advanced techniques to move decision making closer to the “moment of impact” of a business event.  This trend is as powerful and impactful as the dawn of the personal computer, moving computing capabilities out of central data hubs to the edge of the network and closer to the users.

Now that the problem is well defined, how do you tackle it?  We at EMC are developing a new solution approach.  The highlights:

Our innovative solutions for Communications Service Providers leverage complimentary products from business units across EMC.

  • Greenplum capabilities for analytics for structured and unstructured data are a key building block.
  • Gemfire/SQLfire products ingest data from multiple disparate sources and perform immediate in-memory analytics.
  • VMware virtualization capabilities allow the solution to scale up rapidly.
  • Fast, low cost storage from Isilon houses the billions of events generated by the network.
  • Wrapped around these foundational elements are the consultants from EMC Professional Services who configure the solution for a Service Provider based on years of industry experience.

What we have recognized is that centralize, behemoth data warehouses are going the way of the dinosaur.  For the purpose of big data analysis, they are too massive, too rigid and too far removed from the “moment of business impact.”  EMC’s approach is built on the same trends that revolutionized telecommunications networks and computing networks:   Move analytics and decision-making to the edge of the network.

The above approach takes analytics and decisioning and stands it on head!  Instead of delays and costs to ship data to a central national data center, business-impacting analytics and decision-making are performed in real-time, at the point just between the ‘network’ and the ‘IT analytics’ system. 

Keep your current data warehouse if you like – no need to change.  Like most dinosaurs, it can be around for a while, reliably doing the things it has done well in the past.  But don’t expect it to be a nimble decathlon athlete, who is conditioned to excel at and have the stamina for 10 different demanding events over 2 days.

How does this approach fit in?  Like a glove!

With pre-built interfaces to support typical service provider needs (like  CDRs, probes, etc.) plus social media, the configuration is straightforward.   This approach enables  each service provider concentrate their efforts on the important stuff:  determining the algorithms to extract value for their specific customers.

And with EMC’s proven industry consultants, we rapidly provide the service provider the ability to develop differentiated services for new revenue, reduce operating costs and make networks more efficient, and protect current revenue streams.

In closing, here is a technology reality check.  The best quote of the conference came from an executive of Corning Glass, discussing challenges to Fiber-to-the-Home deployments:  “Fiber itself is no longer a costly barrier to deployment.  Fiber costs about $8 per kilometer – this is less than dental floss and toilet paper.

Now, if we could only say that in a few years about big data.  Stay tuned! 

NEXT UP: More on Big Data for Service Providers – A Case Study

I hope you will join me and will pass on the link to your friends and networks.  Please subscribe, send me feedback, and check back soon for the next installment.   If nothing else, I promise my personal International Travel tips will be extremely useful!

 

Travel Tip of the Day:   Global Entry reduces mandatory connection times at US ports of entry … a.k.a., yet another reason to apply for a Global Entry card!

How many times have you booked flights back to the US from a foreign destination – only to be told that the mandatory connection time from an inbound international carrier to a US domestic flight is 2 (or even 2 ½) hours?

Case & point:  I’m flying from Sao Paulo, Brazil to JFK on the TAM day flight scheduled to arrive at 5:20pm.  For my connection, there is a flight departing New York’s JFK at 7:10pm bound for Washington D.C.’s Dulles arriving at 8:25pm.  Since I live 10 short minutes from Dulles airport, this itinerary gives me just enough time to make it home for an important family event that evening.  Perfect!  

“No you can’t!” my travel agent says.   “This is not a legal airline connection.  JFK requires 2 ½ hours to clear US passport control, customs and change terminals.”   She states I have to take the flight departing JFK at 8pm, arriving Dulles at 9:30pm – missing the family event.  “But wait,” I say, “I have the secret to quickly make the ’illegal’ connection legal … Global Entry!” 

Global Entry may very well be the best Frequent Traveler program ever created.  Please see my earlier blogs for additional details on how to apply.  In short, it requires a $100 fee (waived if you have an American Express Platinum card), a 20-page online application, background checks plus a personal interview with the ever-popular agents of the Department of Homeland Security.  Oh yes, and fingerprint scans.  But it is worth it!

So, I (figuratively) wave my passport at the travel agent on the phone and tell her, “I have Global Entry — I don’t wait in any passport lines.”  (Instead, I swipe my passport thru an automated kiosk reader which also reads my fingerprints.)  I also tell her, “I never check bags.”  So I am thru the passport and customs lines in about 5 minutes or less.  This leaves plenty of time for the train between terminals as well as another security check. 

Global Access works at every major US international airport.  It also gives you the added benefit of access to TSA’s superfast Pre-Check security line to eliminate taking off shoes, removing liquids, etc. on domestic flights.  As for my travel agent … she gave in, defeated, and booked my preferred itinerary.  And, happily, I made it home in time for that important family event.

As your trusted travel advisor, this is my final plea, get Global Access.  Your family will thank you!

The post It’s not just Big Data … It’s Gigantic Data! Are you ready? appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/its-not-just-big-data-its-gigantic-data-are-you-ready/feed/ 0
What it takes to be a Great Consultant … The Top 10 List https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/what-it-takes-to-be-a-great-consultant-the-top-10-list/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/what-it-takes-to-be-a-great-consultant-the-top-10-list/#comments Thu, 17 Jan 2013 19:01:26 +0000 http://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=11819 Many of you know I was a Worldwide Partner with Andersen and also worked for Accenture.  As a result, I stay in touch with my former partners and business associates. Gabrielle Wallace, Consultant with St. Charles Consulting Group and former Director of Andersen’s Education for Financial Assurance Services, recently published her Top 10 list of […]

The post What it takes to be a Great Consultant … The Top 10 List appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
Many of you know I was a Worldwide Partner with Andersen and also worked for Accenture.  As a result, I stay in touch with my former partners and business associates.

Gabrielle Wallace, Consultant with St. Charles Consulting Group and former Director of Andersen’s Education for Financial Assurance Services, recently published her Top 10 list of Great Consultant Attributes.  The following is based on her list – but updated and expanded for consultants that work in the IT and Telecom Industries.

Note that the attributes are listed in no particular order.  Why?  Because, as Gabrielle points out, to be a Great Consultant you need them all!

  1. Opinionated – The first and foremost thing a consultant needs to have is an informed opinion or, in more “consultantese,” a point of view (POV).  What is your take on the situation given your experience and expertise?  Or, as many clients wonder, what can you tell me that I don’t already know? After all, that’s why you’ve been hired – to provide a unique look at the situation that takes into account your knowledge of how this problem has been approached by others, what’s worked or hasn’t worked in similar situations, and what critical things may not have been considered yet.  Your POV is something you develop over many years and is a combination of your expertise and your experience.  Be confident in sharing your POV with clients, but be careful to temper it with some of the other tips below.  (You really want your client to believe that you are “knowledgeable,” not “opinionated.”)  Most importantly, if you have a carefully considered POV, you won’t ever need to steal someone’s watch to tell them what time it is.

My Comment:  The key for any major consulting project is to quickly develop a draft of the core recommendations for the client, i.e. within the first 2-3 weeks.   These ‘founding principles’ should be based on your POV combined with your initial perspectives of the client’s business problem.  It’s okay to ‘tweak’ them but I have found that this iterative process (with client participation) has been most effective. 

  1. Pragmatic– One of the biggest faults Gabrielle sees with consultants is taking a purist view of their field of expertise and, when she has the chance, she tells them that what works in textbooks doesn’t usually work in the real world.  Models and frameworks are great, but you need to bring things down to a practical level and consider how to actually design and implement solutions for your clients.  To do this, it’s important to look at things from all angles and play out the possible solutions from the top down and the bottom up.  How does this impact Sue the accountant and Bob in HR?  Consider the unintended effects it will have on work, morale, and any other important aspects of the work environment. A practical approach, informed by appropriate theories, will help ensure the best outcome for your client and will often set you apart from others.

My Comment:  I actually would rate this as one of the top 3 of the top 10.  Recommendations that cannot be implemented are of no use to clients and diminish the reputation of the consultant.

  1. Passionate – No faking here, you’ve got to really care about helping your clients.  It’s obvious when someone is doing a job just for the money or takes a passive, careless approach to the work.  A Great Consultant gets invested in the client’s issues and gets excited at the prospect of making a difference.  Finding passion in your work is something you can’t force, and you may need to turn things around – find out first what you’re passionate about and then make that your professional focus.

My Comment: There will be times in the latter stages of a multi-phase, multi-year project where it will become stressful to come to work.   Remember, you became a consultant to make a difference for your clients and they expect you to deliver!

  1. Resilient – We all have bad days.  We all hit brick walls.  What distinguishes Great Consultants, however, is the ability to pick themselves up by the bootstraps when things aren’t going well, motivate the team, and keep helping the client to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Some problems are easily solved, and others take some time.  The right solution may come after long days, much rework, and much iteration.  If you get some tough feedback or experience a setback along the way, you’ve got to be resilient and bounce back.  Don’t let them get you down!

My Comment: We all learn by experience and setbacks are learning opportunities.  Remember to conduct a ‘lessons-learned’ debrief (including clients) at the conclusion of all projects.  I’d also add “Accountable.”  Be accountable for your and your team’s actions and performance.  Take responsibility.  If you receive tough feedback, commit to the client to develop a “get well” plan … then follow through!

  1. Business-minded – An area that many consultants in the Talent Development arena lack is business acumen.  Understanding how a business operates, what drives decisions, and what makes the industry unique really sets consultants apart.  If you don’t know the basics of the balance sheet or P&L statement, it will be next to impossible for you to connect the dots on how your work will impact the client’s bottom line.  Even a simple appreciation for key business drivers, risks, and the financial aspects of your client’s business will suggest that you “get it” and that you bring a seasoned business perspective to the work.

My Comment: As an IT leader and executive, you must be able to translate business issues into actionable IT solutions AND translate ‘IT-speak’ into understandable business language.  The ability to bridge and communicate these two worlds helps make you a Great Consultant. In addition, when I interview prospective consulting hires, I pay close attention to ‘how’ a candidate describes his or her experience.  Candidates that speak about ‘process solutions’ and ‘solving business issues’ get higher marks than those who discuss ‘implementation of release 10.4 of software package X’.  I will also attempt to hire resources as subcontractors first – to see them in action.  This ‘try-before-you-buy’ approach assists in selecting high quality consultants. 

  1. Professional – Consultants should hold themselves to the highest standards of ethics, confidentiality, and integrity.  By virtue of your role, you will likely see and hear a lot, and it’s imperative for your clients to trust you.  Also, just because something is within the letter of the law doesn’t make it right…  Hold yourself to standards beyond what’s expected.  In addition, always present a professional demeanor.  Don’t get your feathers ruffled.  Look calm even if below the water your feet are paddling like mad!

My Comment: A Great Consultant needs to be comfortable with chaos.  We aren’t hired because the picture is pretty; we are hired because we are capable of working through the chaotic swirl of complexities that our clients cannot effectively handleThe highest compliment I was ever paid was, “you have been extraordinarily calm and unflustered throughout this project.” By methodically solving the client’s issues in what seems to be a hurricane of incredible chaos, you will by default calm the waters.

  1. Curious (but skeptical) – Ask questions, listen, and be professionally skeptical.  As a consultant, your value comes in asking the tough questions, culling out the inconsistencies, and driving to the root causes.  Realize that being inquisitive may sometimes be annoying but it gets results.  Keep in mind that your client may not be able to see the issues as you see them.  As more of an independent party, you can be objective and avoid being clouded by politics and other confounding factors that may surround a problem.

My Comment:  One of the more difficult challenges is to work with clients to see the root cause of business issues.  Be prepared with Case Studies from other clients to support your hypothesis and findings.

  1. Resourceful – Know when to enlist help. None of us is an expert in everything, and you should always know: 1) when it’s time to bring in reinforcements, and 2) where to go to find them.  Actively maintain a network of talented people in your area of expertise and in other, related areas where you might need help.  Use the abundance mentality – there’s plenty of work out there.  So, if you share your opportunity with others, not only will the client benefit from the combination of strong minds at work on their project, but reciprocal opportunities may come to you.

My Comment:   The corollary of this attribute – is to Know When A Project is in Trouble and you need help.  Bad news does not age well, and if a project is starting to have issues – it is important to act fast!

  1. Influential– Your ability to influence may be as important as your expertise (if not more so).  If you can’t get your client or other stakeholders to buy into the plan, idea, or strategy, then the forward movement stops there.  Great Consultants know how to be savvy and navigate situations with dexterity.  Some tips on influence: Read between the lines, and know who your allies and potential adversaries are. Enlist the allies, and work on softening the adversaries…  Never go into a meeting or presentation without pre-meeting with key stakeholders to socialize the topic…  You know you’ve been successful when you make your client look good.  So, let your idea be theirs.  The important thing, above all, is that you get to the right solution.

My Comment: Socializing your recommendations and plans with the key stakeholders is an absolute must!  In many cases, I have found that while I may make the final presentation to senior management, it is really the key stakeholders who help ‘sell’ and/or ‘support’ the call to action… which is the best way a consulting project should play outWith your key stakeholders, prepare the top three most demanding questions that could come up in the executive meeting – and then practice your answers.

  1. Strategic (and tactical) – Seeing the big picture and connecting dots may be some of the most important value you bring to your clients.  They are in the thick of things and being pulled in various directions.  You are in the unique position of being able to step back and look at the whole system or situation. Some tips along this line:  If your client’s organization is silo’d and you have line of sight into multiple areas, you can help them by seeing across organizational lines.  You can also help them look ahead and think beyond the here and now.  Their immediate objective may be to fix today, but they’ll thank you if you’re also thinking about tomorrow. Lastly, being strategic is great, but you also need to be tactical – to focus on effective organization and successful execution.

My Comment:  I know you are asking, “How can you be Strategic and Tactical at the same time?”  In IT consulting projects, first develop a future-state architecture based on a POV (see above).  Then, provide PRAGMATIC and BUSINESS-MINDED stepping stones and phases (complete with P&L impact plus business benefits) outlining the roadmap to get there. 

Special thanks go to Ryan Barnes and Josh Zelenka, business associates at EMC, for adding some great insights to the above list.

Next Up, “2013 Technology Trends That Will Make A Difference.”  Plus, an in depth look at the Expanding Digital Universe and what it means to Telecom Service Providers.  I hope you will join me and will pass on this link to your friends and networks.  Subscribe, send me feedback, and check back soon for another installment.

The post What it takes to be a Great Consultant … The Top 10 List appeared first on InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services.

]]>
https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/what-it-takes-to-be-a-great-consultant-the-top-10-list/feed/ 17