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January 8, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 10:36am

Technology is a different proposition – and it’s forcing companies to get smart

Opinion: Matt Davies, EMEA Head of Marketing at Splunk, discusses how businesses are starting to appreciate that the value of technology is replacing the cost.

By Vinod

"How much?!" Two words frequently heard from almost every non-IT executive during almost every technological evolution ever. It’s the price of innovation. But whilst the cartoon-like image that I’m sure just sprung to mind is amusing, it has been a serious barrier to progress. However, there’s evidence to suggest that things might be changing.

Technology projects are not becoming completely separated from cost – the Capex/Opex impact is still relevant – but an appreciation of the value of technology is replacing that of cost. The Master of Machines II report shows that cost is less of a concern than just two years ago, with more of a focus on functional issues that contribute towards business growth or stability.

As companies were starting on the road to recovery in 2013, they rated their concern over cost of software as 1.91 out of five. In 2015, as business-as-usual is in full swing, that average fell to 1.36 – the biggest drop in any category.

In its place, security, down time, customer experience and handling ‘data chaos’ have become higher priorities. These new areas of concern are borne out of a desire to become more competitive and make technology processes not only efficient, but valuable to the business as a whole.

Technology is becoming more ubiquitous and pervasive, we know this. Every employee and every department has started using the apps and systems that fit their specific needs. This creates two outcomes.

The first is that the platforms required to manage these functions have to be more multi-lingual and open than ever before, just to keep the whole business together from a technology perspective. This explains the 11 per cent growth in PaaS and IaaS in the last two years.

The bigger impact is around how the information in these systems is being combined and processed, to create better internal and external services. For instance, customers want their product/service, but they also interact with billing, marketing and possibly many more departments.

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To deliver a strong service to them, companies need to be operationally intelligent. This means knowing what’s going on as it happens and what data and events actually mean. This approach applies in many walks of business life.

Operational intelligence is the ability to harness machine data to gain real time insight into the business. Increasing operational intelligence helps create more valuable processes and services, which contribute to competitiveness and growth.

So the shift in focus towards addressing security and downtime to improve basic services and also on innovation and handling data chaos to differentiate are fully understandable.

Those who are most operationally intelligent don’t simply flick a switch though. Their capabilities mature as their approach becomes more focused and the technology becomes more ingrained. A benchmark of Operational Intelligence in different industries was established in the Masters of Machines II report. Anyone can go online and measure themselves against these benchmarks to get a clear picture of how they can become more operationally intelligent.

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