The Third Platform is a term that refers to the current phase of the IT revolution in transforming the way people and businesses connect to technology. Unlike the first (computer mainframes) and second (open systems) phases that prioritised the computing system, the Third Platform instead focuses around the interconnection between mobile computing, social media, the cloud, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Digital Transformation is therefore the “journey”, many IT analysts and vendors believe, that companies must undergo towards transitioning onto this “Third Platform”.
Analytics at the edge
Cloud, social and mobile computing have transformed IT’s perspective from being technical- and infrastructure-focused, to being data- and insight-focused – this makes Analytics a crucial component of Third Platform technologies. The Third Platform draws on the data created from people’s devices, apps, and social feeds, and enables businesses to process data in the cloud, incorporate new data sources – including IoT and social media – and turn this data into real, usable information to the businesses’ benefit.
For example, company enabled by the Third Platform will see its executives gain easy access to every piece of data that affects their business. This includes real time access to information such as sales data, employee personal information and financial data. This could also include employee movements via connected devices, consumer sentiment from a product launch via social media, or speech recognition data from audio recordings of customer interactions.
It is important to note that the cloud, mobile computing and social media only provide the data for this new wave of analytics. However, in order to use new technologies like Hadoop to crunch and analyse this vast amount of data produced, Third Platform-enabled companies require a robust IT infrastructure like enterprise-class storage and superior processing capabilities to handle the computing load.
Synergies of Third Platform technologies
Experienced IT vendors, such as NetApp, are addressing this head on by building reference architectures and optimising enterprise-class arrays to store, protect and analyse data at the velocity and volume that it is created within Third Platform implementations.
Splunk is an excellent example of a Third Platform technology that draws data from connected devices and applications. Splunk only delivers value to businesses when its data is analysed in real time; failure to do so can result in analyses and insights that are stale and outdated by the time they reach the user. Through research and lab tests, NetApp have shown that using their enterprise-grade storage will accelerate Splunk and deliver timely Third Platform Analytics in speed, consistency and resilience as compared to commodity x86 servers that simply cannot meet the same standards.
These technologies – social media, mobile computing, analytics, and the cloud – have made it possible to gain real business value in big data. Connected devices in the Internet of Things provide yet another opportunity to generate business insights from big data repositories. Therefore to use these new data sources effectively, it is essential for businesses to use storage solutions that can provide high performance at scale and with enterprise-grade reliability.
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