Lynch: What’s changing is the ‘I’ in ‘IT’

The former Autonomy CEO and current head of information management at HP claims it is the meaning of the data that matters.

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HP may have focused its attentions on hardware this week, but the founder of Autonomy claimed today it was the nature of information that held the most importance.

Mike Lynch, founder of Autonomy and vice president of information management at HP, took to the stage at his new parent company's global partner conference to impart his philosophy to the 3,000 partners gathered.

The IT industry is carrying a hammer and everything it sees it tries to make a nail.

"It is no longer about the data but about the meaning of that data," he said. "There is a fundamental revolution going on in information and the industry is now about the I' not the T' in IT."

He claimed the traditional approach of relational databases just didn't fit the information companies are collecting today, from social networking through to video conferencing.

"The IT industry is carrying a hammer and everything it sees it tries to make a nail," said Lynch. "That hammer is the relational database... anything you put around it like Hadoop or MapReduce doesn't understand the information now being collected... you need technology that understands."

Lynch said the relational database was a tool from the past when people began using computers. Then the machines didn't understand human behaviour so were forced to deal with very strict equations. Now, the world has changed and data tools must move with it.

"Customers do not live their lives in columns, they ring you up," he said. "Understanding this can change your business.

"There is an explosion of human friendly information, such as social media, phone calls... this data is growing much faster than structured information, three times as fast."

Autonomy already has products to deal with this data, known as IDOL, but Lynch revealed more products would be coming this year to integrate the software into HP hardware products.

"What you are going to be seeing from us is we will work very closely with hardware for new products," he said. "It's a very exciting time."

Lynch concluded by summing up his beliefs around information.

"It is not about data, it is about meaning, it is not about machines, it is about people and it is not about the status quo, it is about a new opportunity."

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