Data analytics capabilities must be built on a firm and flexible foundation
- 28 August, 2019 09:12
Yesterday’s disruptors are today’s digital business operations. IoT, machine learning, robotics, AI, everything as a service … customers are busy trying to make the best use of these technologies, embedding them into their business operations and striving to achieve results. It’s early days for many – a process of maturity – but one thing is for sure: your customers are overburdened with data.
Most are struggling to make use of it, because data in and of itself is relatively useless. It must be turned into information and insights. Yet, no organisation in Australia or New Zealand is actively looking for the next “visualisation tool”. They’re not asking for a “big data solution” and the last thing they think they need is another dashboard. They may have already implemented a solution that took two years of consultation, development, customisation and deployment and are underwhelmed with the results. They may not be interested in talking about “analytics” or in a conversation that begins with “data”.
They are ready, however, to discuss supporting the business objectives they have identified, such as finding efficiencies and increasing productivity, understanding what’s going in across the business, tracking activity in the field, complying with complex regulations etc. Whether they are asking about data analytics or not, there is potential to extract additional value if the solutions put in place to achieve these objectives support data analytics at some stage. That means getting the fundamentals right.
Data needs a place to live
Flexible and scalable storage on a modernised infrastructure is the critical foundation for your customers’ digital transformations. Your customers must get the underlying infrastructure right, so they have the confidence that as they progress along their transformation journey, they have an environment that will support their needs. Therefore, at the base layer, storage must be easy to manage, offer modern data protection plus intelligent automation and operations.
The initial requirement may be as straightforward as back up and recovery, but it is our job and that of our partners to ensure that there is sufficient infrastructure to support their increasing accessibility, compute, protection, speed and analytics requirements.
Activate the archive
We need to help organisations ensure their data is not sitting in silos around the business, without structure, without purpose. They need the value in their data to be unlocked. IoT and big data workloads have identified inherent storage and data access challenges, and Object Storage has arisen as a solution to solving those challenges.
Business challenge: We don’t feel we have control of our data. Will we know if we have a data leak?
Many companies need to modernise their file services. They have a plethora of devices, they’re using cloud based file sharing, and they are at risk of data leakage issues and loss of data. With object storage you can respond to this challenge by providing an on premises solution that looks like a consumer service and can be shared across devices, but offers robust data protection including from ransomware.
Business challenge: We’re storing too many copies of the same data, and spending too much on storage.
Backing up to object storage has a number of benefits, not least of which is getting rid of tape backups that don’t understand modern technology, don’t allow for easy deduplication, and come with inherent risk of human error when it comes to the management and care of the tape backup library.
Business challenge: We don’t know what is in the data we have, so how can we know what to do with it?
Your customers may not have access to the application that generated the data in the first place. They may not know the context in which the data was created. Maybe they don’t recall where it came from, who accessed it, why it was changed. But they have the data, and therefore its metadata.
What if your customer’s archive was data that was indexed, with its metadata identified and searchable? You can help them activate their archives, allowing them to search through for particular information for anything from compliance to open data requirements; from targeted business analysis in support of any number of objectives, to responding to litigation. The metadata associated with a file or an email or a bit of data can be more important than the data itself, because it allows us to understand the data we have.
Data at the ready
If an organisation has identified a business objective that they are solving or addressing with an IoT strategy, they are generating data that could be useful to the business. If they are applying machine learning to improve business operations, then they need to harness data. If they are consuming any as-a-service solutions, they need to make sure they own, protect and control the data used and housed by these services. Data is at the heart of every business operating today.
There is so much opportunity for the ANZ channel, to help organisations protect, structure, index, analyse and monetise their data. We have to help them get the fundamentals right.
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