How EMC is giving Lotus F1 a Big Data edge

For several years, businesses around the world have been implementing big data analytics to speed up their processes and improve productivity. Few have taken it as far as the Lotus F1 team.

Simplifying Big Data

The Lotus F1 team recently made the move to EMC’s V-Blocks server architecture, allowing them to use data in more simple and innovative ways. Anthony Smith, Lotus F1’s converged infrastructure specialist, explains: “We’ve had the V-blocks around 18 months now. We were using a set of different hardware from various vendors before. This has been one of the big changes for us.” Switching to one provider for everything helped to simplify the process. “We have one provider and one system that we know works together. We keep it as simple as possible so we have one company to contact if something goes wrong.”

Custom analytics

Using EMC tools has enabled the team to collect vast amounts of data and make significant changes and adjustments to their factory and processes.

“All the time the car runs we’re gathering data from it. It’s constantly streaming, even when it’s just in the garage. It’s producing around 60GB of data per weekend,” he said.

“Then we’re using that to analyse and refine the performance, and find improvements. We’re working to improve our competitiveness through the data.”

Testing and climate challenges

Given new limitations on the amount of real-world tests the team can do, the use of data analytics has become even more important in today’s racing environment.

“We’re not allowed to test during the year. We do three tests at the beginning of the year – that’s three weeks of testing – and then during the year we have four days in total throughout the year that we can test the car that isn’t a race weekend,” he said.

“This is why the simulation and the data analysis is so important because we can’t just decide to test it on the circuit. There are so many possibilities for the car and we’ve got to turn up at the circuit and pretty much know exactly how it’s going to be and what’s going to happen.”

The converged future

Moving forward, Smith wants to continue the team’s move towards a hyper converged infrastructure.

“We’re looking at whatever we can get our hands on. We’ve seen the whole virtualisation hybrid cloud infrastructure develop over the last few years and that’s helped us massively,” he said.

“We’re looking towards boosting our resilience. Looking at X-Racks VSpex Blue, hyper converged, the next step on.”

“If we can get more performance for less size, weight and power on the track that’s another advantage for us.”

To find out more you can read the full article on V3.co.uk

EMC picks up European Best Workplace Award

EMC has been recognised as one of Europe’s Best Multinational Workplaces in the Best Workplaces 2015 awards announced last week. Every year the Great Place to Work Institute surveys some 6,000 organisations around the world to find companies that encourage workplace cultures of high trust and engagement. Due to the success of EMC’s operations in 12 national Best Workplace rankings across Europe, the company ranked an impressive second out of a field of 25 multinationals.

Ever since EMC came 19th in the 2012 awards, its ranking in these prestigious employer awards has improved year on year. This shows the strength and quality of EMC’s people, from senior leadership setting the strategy and direction to the employees on the front line. EMC’s EMEA President, Adrian McDonald said: ‘A key factor of EMC’s success is our focus on building our strength as an employer and creating the kind of workplace that attracts and retains the best talent, talent which focuses on meeting customers’ needs by helping them optimise their existing infrastructures and build new ones.”

Head to the career page to learn more about the company and what it’s like to work for EMC.

A different perspective on hybrid cloud – illustrations

What are the catalysts that lead people to deploying a hybrid cloud? This was the question we tackled with a number of EMC and industry professionals in the second hybrid cloud Twitter chat a couple of weeks ago.

This led to some great discussions around the issues IT departments are facing and the changing role of IT, which are well worth a read. You can find them in full here:  https://www.crowdchat.net/HybridCloudChat.

In addition, we had a very talented illustrator on board to follow the conversation, and produce live sketches of some of the key topics that came up. You may have seen some of them around on Twitter, but please do take a look below at the full collection.

If you’re interested in learning more about EMC’s Hybrid Cloud, visit our solution page for further information and demos.

The future of digital: A deep-dive into party manifestos – Labour and Liberal

With the May elections looming, predictions are in full swing as to how technology and digital transformation would develop under each political party. In a previous post we looked at the work the Conservative Party has done and their intentions for the future, but what do the other parties have in store?

Digitisation under the Labour Party

Labour has shown an increasing interest in digital issues in recent months. For example, in November, the Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Chi Onwurah published details of her party’s Digital Government Review.

Like the conservatives, Labour would broadly-speaking continue much of the current agenda, including work with the Government Digital Services (GDS) to digitise public services, making smarter use of data and reforming procurement. Labour also favours the use of common architectures based on open standards, opening up APIs and developing more agile and innovative solutions.

However, there are some noteworthy changes. Most importantly, Labour wants to focus on trust, transparency and security, particularly in relation to the use of citizen data. The party intends to publish a review of data sharing and privacy within 90 days of entering office, providing citizens with more information and control over their data. Citizens’ ownership of their own data will be more explicit and new limits will restrict the government’s ability to pass data on to third parties for commercial gain without their consent.

Labour wishes to emphasise digital inclusion and skills, for citizens and within the public sector. From a citizen perspective, digital services would be designed to be accessible by all members of society, including the most excluded and disadvantaged. Investment would be made in boosting citizens’ digital skills to ensure everyone is able to use digital services. To focus on the most difficult social problems rather than cost reduction, Labour wants to apply a ‘social benefits test’ to new digital services.

This would apply equally to local and central government, and Labour would do more to encourage local authorities to collaborate and develop shared services. For the public sector, leadership and skills are to be a higher priority, and government transformation a Cabinet level priority. Finally, Labour aims to provide more training to improve digital skills throughout the civil service.

The Liberal Democrats’ test the tech waters

Of the three main parties, the Liberal Democrats have said the least about applying technology to transform the public sector. A handful of figures, notably Julian Huppert and Lord Wallace of Saltaire, are getting more engaged in the digital revolution and have recently helped their party to launch an Entrepreneurs Network to engage with the tech sector and help influence the development of Liberal Democrat policy. Like Labour, the party’s starting point is to place greater emphasis on digital inclusion and the protection of individual rights in areas like data sharing, rather than simply aiming for cost savings.

Having looked at all three parties’ policies it’s clear there is a considerable amount of consensus over the digital agenda. This is hardly surprising given that all three parties are committed to delivering significant spending cuts in the next Parliament, £24.9bn by the Conservatives, £5.2bn by Labour and £7.9bn by the Lib Dems. Regardless of the make-up of the next government, it will need to think digital, build on the progress achieved to date and accelerate the pace of transformation to delivery services more efficiently to meet citizens’ rising expectations.

How close are you to deploying a hybrid cloud? Join the #HybridCloudChat

Ready, motivated, undecided – how close are you to deploying a hybrid cloud?

Hybrid cloud has been one of the industry’s biggest buzzwords for a few years now, and uptake is on the rise. However confusion around exactly what true hybrid cloud is and how it can be deployed remains. Recently EMC’s Vice President Global Services, Dinko Eror, debunked the top five hybrid cloud myths, and next week he is taking to Twitter to answer all your burning hybrid cloud questions.

So, where are you on your journey to the cloud? What is holding you back and what challenges do you face? Join Dinko and other EMC and industry experts in the #hybridcloudchat to discuss everything that is (and isn’t!) hybrid cloud on the 25th of March at 12:00 PM GMT.  We’ll cover common challenges and how to overcome them, and a professional illustrator will join us to bring your comments and questions to life, in real time!

Share any questions with us beforehand @emcuki , and don’t forget to join the #hybridcloudchat on March 25th!

Hybrid Cloud Chat Invite - FINAL_portrait

IT as an enabler for business change – EMC Forum Survey

The trends of cloud, mobile, social and big data have fundamentally changed the expectations of consumers and end-users, affecting what is required and expected of IT departments. This much has become clear from our recent survey findings*, questioning IT decision makers in the UK for their perspective on IT’s role as an enabler of business change during the rise of these industry mega trends.

Jeremy Burton, President Products and Marketing, EMC Corporation, explains: “To remain relevant and competitive, businesses across every industry are reinventing their business models to handle unprecedented levels of access, interaction and scale. For this reason, IT finds itself back in the driver’s seat, morphing from cost center to a true catalyst for change through the use of cloud and big data technologies.”

Our survey results reflect this, as although creating efficiencies and reducing cost is still a priority for 60% of businesses, 70% of respondents see IT as a strategic business driver and 78% agree their organisation sees the increasing role of automation as critical to business growth.

Customer experience is a key factor, with 54% of respondents using cloud, mobile, social and big data technologies to improve customer experiences, and 53% seeing it as a top business priority. Organisations are making use of the technologies available to get their IT into shape by building new products and services (43%) and streamlining business functions and improving efficiencies (42%).

However, barriers will need to be overcome to achieve IT’s full potential, as 73% of respondents don’t believe IT has the skills to keep up in the next couple of years.

Take a look at more results from the survey below, and get in touch with any questions or comments on @emcuki.

 

IT is a Business Enabler

  • 70% of respondents in the UK report that their CXOs consider IT as a strategic lever to grow the business, now more than ever before.
  • The top three business priorities when implementing new technologies in organisations from the UK are: delivering savings and finding efficiencies (60%), enhancing the customer experience (53%) and automating processes (49%).
  • 78% of respondents in the UK agree that their organisation sees the increasing role of automation – such as software defined storage – as critical to business growth.

Taking advantage of the Mega Trends

  • 77% of respondents in the UK expect next-generation technologies such as mobile, social, cloud and big data to give their organisation a competitive advantage.
  • UK respondents say these new technologies will impact key aspects of the business, including: improving customer experience (54%), building new products and services (43%) and streamlining business functions and improving efficiencies (42%).
  • As businesses operate increasingly online today, 71% of respondents identified a need for joint public and private cloud services – hybrid cloud – as a means for greater agility and security.

Future of IT

  • 59% of respondents in the UK believe their organisation has the right level of skills and knowledge to complete business priorities successfully.
  • 73% believe it will be a challenge to have these skills keep up with the pace of IT innovation over the next 1-2 years
  • 70% of companies see IT as a business enabler, yet 43% of companies believe that spending for technology was outside IT’s control – indicating there is still work to do in gaining trust from decision makers.
  • 77% believe that the model IT department of the future will act as the in-house provider of on-demand services, including platform-as-a-service and public and private cloud.

*Collected during a non-mandatory questionnaire after completion of registration for the EMC Forum held in London on October 21, 2014. This research polled a total of 664 business and IT management and executives, technical architects, data scientists and storage/infrastructure managers from a range of UK businesses

Is the IT, telecoms and media industry ready to embrace Big Data?

Any business within the Information Technology, media or telecoms industry is aware that nothing stands still, and those that do will be left behind. Deloitte reported that technology media and telecoms businesses will continue to face pressure from increasing competition, further ‘digital disruption’ and technological change. For many, these challenges won’t just come from established competitors. With lower barriers to entry and unburdened by any legacy infrastructure, new competitors that can scale operations and bring products to market faster than ever before will be a persistent challenge.

In our recent Big Data League study – a ranking of five different industry sectors based on their readiness to embrace big data – the IT, telecom and media sector demonstrated a strong understanding of the potential for big data analysis to deliver business benefits. The study revealed that:

  • 67% of decision makers in IT and telecoms / media companies recognise that prioritising big data analysis has the potential to drive new revenue streams (higher than any other sector including retail, manufacturing, public sector and financial services)
  • 58% of IT and telecoms / media companies believe they have the data analytics platform experience to help them understand and maximise big data insights
  • 62% agreed that better use of customer insights and trends, plus the alignment of business models with customer requirements, are both key to unlocking the next wave of growth for their organisation

However only:

  • 30% have access to external data sets with customer information and sales data
  • 34% feel they can manipulate a large and / or complex data set analytics within minutes
  • 38% of those questioned admitted that their current IT infrastructure was not agile enough to make use of their data to reveal trends.

As IDC states, the ICT industry is in the midst of a once every 20-25 year shift to a new technology platform to support growth and innovation; this new shift has been labelled the ‘third platform’ of computing. The third platform represents a shift in the way IT services are consumed and delivered and is creating “next generation workloads” which legacy IT infrastructure simply isn’t fast or intelligent enough to deal with at scale, cost effectively. What’s clear is that if businesses in the IT, telecoms and media sector don’t adapt to meet with the increasing demands being placed on IT by employees and customers, then in the long term they won’t be able to compete.

The IT, telecom and media sector has some way to go before it leads the EMC Big Data League table. With the next Google or Pinterest making a play to disrupt the market, companies need to capitalise on data assets, act fast and reap the rewards.

Has the public sector taken on the big data challenge?

James Petter, Vice President and Country Manager for the UK and Ireland, EMC shares his thoughts on how the public sector is approaching the big data challenge. 

Big data is a term which has been thrown around in recent years, but essentially it is an evolving expression that describes any voluminous amount of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data that has the potential to be mined for information.

In my view, the real crux of whether something is big data or not is the ability to make decisions based on data insights, in real time. It’s the holy grail for most organisations – be they private or public sector – and could open the door to new revenue streams and stronger customer insights.

I was recently asked to give evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee as part of its inquiry into social media data and real time analytics. I believe there are already great examples of what can be done in government through better use of data, but the reality is that we’re only scratching the surface. And it’s not just something for consideration by central government. Local authorities could benefit significantly from projects already in place and through implementing schemes on the ground to improve citizen services, streamline processes, better understand their working environment and save costs in the process.

A year ago in his Autumn Statement to Parliament, the Chancellor recognised big data as an area that warrants additional research and development funds in order to strengthen the UK’s competitive advantage. However, little seems to have changed on the ground in recent months. So where are the biggest opportunities across all areas of the public sector?

There are some pockets of innovation and good practice across UK government already, with some departments beginning to explore how they might apply big data analytics, and the benefits this could bring. Notable progress is being made in the healthcare arena, and I am also aware that other departments like the Ministry of Justice, HMRC and the Ministry of Defence, are examining the potential. But, there is certainly plenty of scope to take things further and faster across the whole of government.

For local government on the frontline of citizen services, big data represents a huge opportunity. Particularly around understanding citizen priorities and how healthcare and benefit payments in particular could be better allocated.

So what can and should be done now? In my view, the government could do more to help create a market for big data analysis by using its own data sets more creatively to transform services to benefit citizens and taxpayers. Government should also do more to support innovation by pooling, sharing and linking public and external data sources, and encourage collaboration, knowledge and skill sharing within and across government, as well as external bodies.

Local government also has a role to play, particularly in ensuring its data is captured and stored in a secure and accessible way and that insights are being gleaned from this data in order to make decisions around citizen services and internal processes. Small steps to maximise data insights now will ensure that local authorities are better placed to sync up with big data developments as they roll out across the public sector in the years to come. Those who make steps to prepare themselves now will be far better placed to succeed in the coming months and years.

The public sector is in danger of being outpaced in terms of its ability to handle and exploit big data. Clear leadership and a willingness to adopt a culture of change are needed if big data is to achieve its great potential, and this is true across all areas of government, both at a central and local level. Technology is no longer simply a back-office function and big data is something which we all need to be prepared to adopt, or risk missing out on the positive financial, operational and citizen opportunities which it presents.

Conversation highlights – ‘Leading the Healthcare Technology Revolution’

Last week EMC and Reform hosted a summit on ’Sustaining Universal Healthcare: Making better use of Information’, discussing the future of healthcare in the UK and how to deal with the problems faced by the NHS. The summit marked the launch of a healthcare report by Volterra Partners and EMC, highlighting how data analytics and better use of information have the potential to save the NHS up to £66 billion per year.

It was great to see so many people getting involved in the discussion on Twitter using #NHSdatareform. Take a look at the Storify below to see the conversation highlights.

New report highlights at least £16.5bn of efficiencies to preserve the future of the NHS

Volterra report with EMC highlights the opportunity for predictive and preventative medicine to accelerate the Wellness Model

A new report – “Sustaining Universal Healthcare: Making Better Use of Information” – released this week by Volterra Partners and EMC has outlined how data analytics and better use of information can improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery in the UK by up to 60 per cent, with the potential to save the NHS between £16.5 billion and £66 billion per year. The NHS is currently facing a £34 billion funding gap by 2020 and radical action is needed to preserve its core values of “providing free healthcare for everyone”. An infographic has also been created to outline the key figures, click on the image below to take a look.

EMC-infographic-FINAL-FINAL (2)

The report exposes the gap between the NHS and other industries in its use of data analytics and technology, adding to the body of evidence that shows that the current patchwork efforts to maintain the NHS are unsustainable. The lack of electronic records, predictive analytics, collaboration and effective monitoring of patient and treatment outcomes, in addition to personalised care, is leading to failures and financial inefficiencies that are unsustainable in the long-term.

There are pockets of excellence across the UK where data analytics has been effectively employed to deliver better quality of care for patients. If these examples were implemented nationally this would result in savings of:

  • £840 million per year due to a reduction in A&E attendances
  • £200 million per year through reduced complications due to diabetes
  • £126 million per year through better care management for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Up to £32 million per year through the reduction of readmission rates
  • £5 billion of savings in staff time through more efficient working practices

James Norman, Healthcare Director, UK & Ireland at EMC, said: “Transformation in healthcare is needed now. If we want to save the NHS we should be ambitious and bold. We need a more joined-up system in place to drive interoperability of patient records and to better use the valuable information insights we generate. Doing so would mean that we could more easily identify the combination of factors that would put a patient at risk of generating a chronic condition, opening up the opportunity to prescribe treatment before they become ill. Or, this could allow us to develop personalised medicines, improve early diagnoses and analyse specific treatments to maximise the benefit of medicine used. Increasing the accessibility and agility of data, improving mobility, ensuring we’re secure and compliant and offering flexibility and scalability while investing in the appropriate skills and learning from other industries, is crucial to preserving an icon of British society.”

The report also identifies a number of recommendations to enhance patient care, including:

  • Speeding up the accessibility of data and communicating the benefits to patients and GPs ahead of time to build trust and buy in
  • Collaboration at a local level with health institutions and academia
  • Investment in appropriate skills in the health workforce to handle and use data effectively
  • A change in culture within the Department of Health to drive a real shift to the Wellness Model, rather than just using data to improve performance management

View the full report here and join in the conversation on Twitter via #NHSdatareform.