Technology Integration: Not Just for Your Smartphones

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6 min read

With the increasing amount of information that we use daily, technology is only becoming more and more important in everything we do. And businesses are seeing this at much greater scale than we do as consumers. There are many great examples of this in just about every industry.

Retailers, for example, now rely heavily on technology to improve sales. Stores now have access to consumer behavior data, helping them further tailor advertisements and products to customers. Many retailers use algorithms to analyze consumer data (i.e., recommendation engines) to determine what other items a customer might be interested in after they purchase something, and to suggest those items to the customer during the process. Much of the initial analysis for this data is automatically done with software, which gives employees the ability to then draw conclusions and take further steps upon reviewing the data. New security devices also make it much easier for retailers to track products and stop shoplifters.

Furthermore, organizations are also becoming more dependent on technology for department-specific needs. The finance department of a company, for example, despite not being technology experts, now utilizes many analytics programs to reduce risk and improve their financial decisions. Marketing teams are using software to fine tune their advertising strategies. Sales teams use technologies to arm reps with the latest content assets to be more effective in customer conversations.

In general, there’s a trend toward more technology decisions being influenced by the line-of-business side. Because of that, it is crucial to understand not just what the technology does, but how it works. There are two reasons for this. First, knowing how the technology works enables you to understand the business-advantage distinction between different technology and software options. If you’re deciding between two software analytics companies, you will be better informed and able to make a better choice if you understand the differences between how the software was created and can be implemented. Second, having a basic understanding of how technology works will help you identify new use cases and other ways that the technology can be applied to improve business efficiency. Oftentimes, business professionals look at a specific technology product to address an immediate need, but they miss the opportunity to think about ways they can apply to technology to future business needs.

Not only has big data technology become more prevalent, it’s become more tightly integrated into products. “Smart” products now encompass everything from smart phones to smart homes that tie different aspects of life together. Many TVs now come with Internet connectivity and applications, and it’s next to impossible to find a cell phone today without a camera or mp3 player.

These product integrations (not to be confused with this) simply make life easier for consumers. Amazon Echo is a prime example. Echo is a hands-free speaker that not only provides information and plays music, but also connects to other technologies so that they too can be voice-activated. Echo now connects to many smart-home appliances such as Wink, which has smart-lighting products and Nest Thermostats. By integrating Echo with these household appliances, you can now control these technologies with your voice. Just as integrated consumer products make life easier, so does software that’s integrated in business environments. For example, employees often have access to a consistent emailing and scheduling system that makes it easier and more efficient for everyone to communicate and access the same information. And with the explosion of big data, many innovative types of software and storage have emerged for handling new types of information. Having all of these new technologies on one platform makes it easier for employees to understand and use these new tools.

Having integration, or convergence, alone isn’t always helpful if the individual parts aren’t effective. Just notice how Apple’s iPhone commercials demonstrate the high quality of the iPhone camera, which prove that the parts that make up the iPhone stand alone well. Not only do you have a high quality phone that you always carry with you, but you also have a high quality camera that makes it very simple to capture and share moments.

When deciding on a big data platform for your business, it’s important to consider the same thing. The parts that make up your platform should not only be of high quality, but also allow you to do more together than individually. The MapR Data Platform does just that. Its services include MapR XD, MapR Database, and MapR Event Store, all of which are industry-leading technologies. The MapR Data Platform integrates Hadoop and Spark with real-time database capabilities, global event streaming, and scalable enterprise storage to power a new generation of big data applications. After all, if you expect your phone to run smoothly with your other technologies, shouldn’t you expect the same out of your business software?

This blog post was published August 09, 2016.

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