Data growth is relentless. The amount of data we produce is increasing exponentially – and accelerating. Storing the data is a perpetual problem, but the real challenge comes in protecting, securing and categorising the data – particularly when 80% of it is unstructured. So what’s the plan? How should we really address the problem that now consumes the largest percentage of IT budgets?
Data is now arguably our greatest asset. With increased automation and the true advent of business analytics, data has never been more important. Add to that the need to store, protect and manage massive volumes while remaining compliant with security and privacy regulations and data has the potential to rapidly become our greatest challenge.
There isn’t any shortage of companies in the market talking about data, how important it is, how much there is and it always seems to lead down the same path. Whatever problem you have, they have a box or a cloud that can solve it for you. Technology of course is important but data is a business issue and the two can often be disconnected.
Data – Size Does Matter
So before you run out and buy your next shiny box or virtual solution, it’s worthwhile taking a few moments to consider what you really need to be thinking about. As the volume and the purpose of data has changed so dramatically, our traditional methods, approach, thoughts about how we manage our technology, equally need to be updated too.
One myth worth dispelling is that it’s not about size (thankfully). The only real reason the term ‘Big Data’ was born is because there is just so much of it and why? Well simply put it’s a trend that has emerged as a result of us digitising so much more than we ever have before. Social Media unarguably has been a huge contributor but equally so have the sheer number of mobile devices that we use. The net result is proliferation of data, it’s everywhere. If it’s not sat in a managed database, it’s unstructured… and growing fast. Today, 80% of data is unstructured and, by nature, a complex beast.
Think “Business” First
The real opportunity is to begin by posing better questions about what you want from your data. Better questions will naturally create smarter answers and the challenge with data is no bigger or smaller than enabling an organisation to make better decisions by improving data analysis and management and it needn’t be a costly process either, there is a better way.
The first small step that is needed is not to dig too deep into technology because you immediately produce a disconnect from the imperative of managing data which is ‘Business Value’.
That’s a pretty big mindset change for many organisations. Data challenges traditionally sit within the IT department whereas data management is now a significant business issue. You can’t afford to have a disconnect between the two. Ask yourself, what is it that we’re really trying to do here?
Bite Sized Chunks
The sheer scale and growth of data seems to be the daunting factor and why ‘Data’ is an ever-present challenge for IT strategists. There are many smart approaches for example to storage, so scale isn’t really the issue. Be it Petabytes or Exabytes, storage best practice is just a phone call away.
The real opportunity in managing your data lies in understanding what your business needs, what are the real challenges. You can begin to identify clear elements of data sets and look for combinations and patterns within that data to begin to answer the real business questions and then take it on, in bite sized chunks.
The questions of how you capture, retain, access, secure, analyse, store and use your data can all be addressed in simple terms but the first question will still need to be answered “What does the business really need”?
Don’t let the industry hype fool you. It’s confusing and often contradictory.
IT by nature is “data-centric”, defined by the movement and processing of data. But how many IT strategies are truly focused on data first? Or is “storage” still a silo, managed separately from applications and business systems?
Today, the strongest IT strategies are built around data. IT cannot be truly aligned with business value unless data is placed at the foundation. Data availability, protection, security and compliance are now fundamental elements of business strategy.
How Can We Help?
At Q Associates, we follow the ever-growing data. We design solutions which put data at the core of any IT strategy. We want to ensure our customers that maximum value is delivered through the effective management of information.
Why not get in touch? You can talk to one of our data management specialists today by simply clicking here