5 tips to rekindle your love for data in 2017

What CIOs and IT decision makers need to know about data management
Picture: dollen, Flickr

Picture: dollen, Flickr

Managing data – at the best of times – can be a love hate relationship for IT decision makers. Instead of leaving one’s head in the sand, CIOs need to reflect on their current software relationship and assess whether it supports them during turbulent times, and whether it should remain part of their future data management strategy.

Unfortunately, relationships sometimes come to an end. But what happens when these "break ups" or communications breakdowns occur between an enterprises own departments? And what role can an effective data management strategy have during these times?

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, and planning for the year ahead, business leaders wanting to make better informed decisions must scrutinise their IT investments and look for ways to activate their organisations data. Every strong relationship is built on honesty – and effective data management provides this much needed transparency for Australian and New Zealand enterprises.

Choosing a partner for life

Over the past few years, organisations have come to understand the importance of leveraging data to form deeper insights and drive better business decisions. Yet with resources becoming more limited and IT budgets on the decline, enterprises now need to look at more holistic solutions that can address their data needs.

As businesses finalise their 2017 plans, many will start to shift away from point solution vendors and instead favour providers with an all-encompassing and integrated data management platform.

With Australia and New Zealand being some of the more mature IT markets in the world, it’s no surprise that enterprises are quickly adopting new technology and migrating data to the cloud. And while the short-term benefits of these systems are clear, it’s important to remember partnering with the right data management provider ultimately affects these kind of projects long-term success.

Protect what matters most

An organisation’s relationship with their data is often complex, particularly when they face increasing cyber threats and destructive ransomware attacks.

According to the Australian edition of PwC’s 2016 Global Economic Crime Survey, cybercrime is the number one economic crime in Australia – meaning businesses must make prevention and mitigation of these threats a priority for the year ahead. Additionally, organisations must be able to quickly identify compromised data and automate its recovery to reduce downtime and further financial losses.

Data management systems must remain accessible, but not at the expense of security. Therefore, classifying, separating and walling off data to restrict unauthorised access is essential.

Prolonging the honeymoon period

Choosing a data management solution can be similar to the honeymoon period of a relationship. At first, there’s no faults and it addresses the problems it was deployed to fix. However, overtime the chinks in the armour begin to show and problems arise around scalability, integration and seamlessness of moving between the cloud and on-premise storage.

As it stands, the current pricing models from cloud service providers for moving data between on-premises and the cloud is unsustainable. And the industry agrees, with IDC predicting more than 80% of enterprise IT organisations will embrace hybrid infrastructure models by the end of this year.

With hybrid infrastructure environments in favour, traditional cloud storage vendors are likely to adjust their pricing models to stay ahead of competition - or risk losing the love and faith of their customers.

Defining the relationship

Time, and time again, software-defined data services has proved its value in reducing the expenses associated with legacy hardware while also delivering the performance and scalability needed for big data, digital repository, backup and other large workloads.

By taking a software-defined approach, organisations can avoid vendor lock-in, increase their use of the cloud and deploy new applications and services more efficiently, delivering a range of competitive advantages in the modern digital economy.

Enterprises can only index and extract true value from their data if they move away from cheap storage options to software-defined data services. What’s more, it affords them the ability to seamlessly manage and derive business insights from data while staying within the IT budget.

Making the commitment

IT decision makers wanting to reduce costs and run operations more smoothly must adopt an intelligent data management strategy that allows for the seamless transfer and syncing of data between dozens of applications, databases and various other enterprise data lakes.

An important first step is to ensure all departments within an organisation optimise their data management platform so they can effortlessly and conveniently access data to drive valuable insights for the wider business.

For example, HR departments might not need to filter through large volumes of data when hiring the right talent. After collecting, storing and backing up data, they just need to interpret the information correctly to help match candidates with the right positions.

Like any strong relationship, the strength of a company’s internal data management processes, policies and compliance is based on how much time and investment is made. Putting in the research to find the right intelligent data management platform now will only ensure a happy and prosperous partnership in the future.

Dan Kieran, Area Vice President, Australian & New Zealand, Commvault