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Steadying ‘Information Optimization’ on a Moving Walkway

Optimizing information across the various forms of data we touch is becoming more complex

Ask any technology evangelist worth their salt roughly when the ‘next big thing' is likely to arrive and they will typically say about five-years from now. It's a safe bet; so-called ‘paradigm shifts' in technology tend to occur roughly every half decade - or at least they have for the last quarter century or so.

The pressure that results from constantly evolving technology shifts has a direct impact upon us as users and, very crucially, the data we consume, manipulate and interact with beneath the innovation curve.

Although innovation is great and we all enjoy product development, being able to optimize information across the various forms of data we touch is becoming more complex. This complexity is then compounded and exacerbated given the constant forward momentum produced by subsequent innovation waves.

Metaphorically Speaking...
The result of these truisms is that we find our information optimization targets constantly shifting. It's almost as if we were trying to balance a stack of papers on a moving walkway or travelator, in a breeze, without knowing the full length or speed of the walkway. If you want to extend the metaphor one step further - yes there are other passengers on our walkway and they could bump into us and/or add papers to our stack.

Oh, did I mention that the pieces of paper might not even all be the same size, shape or color - and some may have tattered edges and coffee stains? Okay, metaphor milked thoroughly now, let's move on.

Our information optimization goals will typically include the need to manage information and assess its quantitative and qualitative values. We will also need to analyze streams of both structured and unstructured data, the latter including video, emails and other less ‘straight-edged' data.

Take these challenges and map them out against our future technology roadmap for the next five years and things could start to look tough. But the task appears somewhat less insurmountable if we can say with some asserted confidence which technologies are likely to feature on our near horizon.

Popular comment from blogs to analyst commentary to IT news streams lists the key ‘positively disruptive' technologies for the immediate future as follows:

  • Mobile computing in all its forms, remember to consider tablets here as well as smartphones and of course laptops
  • Social media content creation and sharing, in particular its usage in the workplace as a collaboration tool
  • Cloud computing and the accompanying ecosphere of virtualized data and services-based computing
  • Consumerization of technology borne out by individuals owning their own tablets, smartphones and other devices and taking them into the workplace
  • Big data sets mounting into exabytes and zettabytes that require database management tools and analytics layers in order to extrapolate value

If these current and still-nascent trends continue to impact our data usage, then we have some chance of building an awareness of these technologies into our information optimization plans. If this plan works out, then we may even be able to steady ourselves on the moving walkway and maybe even work out when we need to step off.

One thing for sure is the walkway is definitely moving already and we're already some distance down the path. All we really need to do is look for the handrail and hold on tight.

•   •   •

This post was first published on the Enterprise CIO Forum

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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