Data management has become a vital part of the IT operation for just about every size and type of business, whether it’s B2B, B2C, or DTC. The rapid digitalization of our world has created ever larger volumes of data that can be used to inform decisions, optimise business operations, improve marketing campaigns and reduce costs. Data is now one of the most powerful assets organisations have - but only if it’s managed correctly.
As well as a tremendous opportunity, the surge in data collection also presents an existential threat to businesses. Data privacy and protection laws such as GDPR have transformed robust data management into a necessity rather than a nice-to-have. And failing to take your data management obligations seriously could be disastrous for your finances and reputation.
With that in mind, we’re going to cover a few of the basics before getting down to the five signs that show your data management needs an upgrade.
What is Data Strategy?
A data strategy is your organisation’s long-term plan for turning large amounts of raw data into a valuable asset that can help you achieve your business’s goals. This guiding plan will outline how you will collect, store, share, and use your data and what technology, processes, and people you’ll need to do it.
To create your data strategy, you need to look at the company’s objectives through the lens of data and ask yourself:
- What data do employees need to do their jobs more effectively?
- What processes can we put in place to make sure company data is accessible and high quality?
- What technology can we use to store, share and analyse the company data effectively?
Once you have the answers to those questions, you can start the process of putting a data strategy in place that will get you where you need to be.
What is Data Management?
You can think of data management as the ‘how’ of your data strategy. It determines how you will collect, keep and use data securely and efficiently within the bounds of regulation. Robust data management allows you to use the data you have to make decisions and take actions that benefit the company.
Data management has a wide scope and includes a combination of different functions, including:
- Creating, accessing, and updating data
- Storing data securely and cost-effectively
- Ensuring data privacy
- Providing high availability and disaster recovery
- Destroying and archiving data in line with compliance requirements and retention schedules
Collectively, these functions ensure that your data is accurate, available, accessible, and compliant, turning your data into a valuable asset for your company.
Five Signs You Need to Update Your Data Management
Outdated or ineffective data management systems can create an efficiency black hole for your business. Here are five tell-tale signs that you’re due an upgrade.
- You Spend More Time Managing Data Than Analysing It
If your teams spend more time wading through inconsistent data sets and incompatible data silos than they do actually using your data, you have a problem. Business intelligence and analytics operations are only as good as your data. And trying to do what you can with flawed data can lead to damaging faulty findings.
If large teams are having to access essential data through siloed or legacy datacenters, it’s time to think seriously about your data storage. Maintaining the status quo might seem like the easy option but it’s harming the productivity of your teams and making work less enjoyable for everyone.
Automate database administration tasks to ensure operational and security best practices are applied consistently across your entire database fleet. With automation handling day-to-day administration tasks, DBAs can spend more time on higher value activities like optimising database performance or analysing data.
- The Majority of Your Data is Unstructured
Unstructured data can provide a trove of meaningful insights that organisations can use for their competitive advantage. The trouble is that many businesses just don’t know how to manage unstructured data effectively, leading to increased risks, costs, and lost opportunities.
Structured vs. unstructured data
- Structured data is quantitative, easily defined, and searchable, such as a date or credit card number.
- Unstructured data is qualitative, unsearchable, and cannot be processed using conventional tools. It includes things like images, social media posts, and audio.
80% of the 163 zettabyte global datasphere is predicted to be made up of unstructured data by 2025. And this huge data dump can become a tremendous asset for organisations that can manage it effectively.
If you have large amounts of unstructured data, traditional siloed approaches won’t work. Instead, Database as a Service (DBaaS) can be an effective way to combine databases across multiple departments in the cloud to create a single hosted database management system. This can help you turn your unstructured data into a blessing rather than a curse.
- Your Energy Bills Are Soaring
We all know what has been happening with energy prices over the last year, but if your energy bills remain high even when unit costs start to drop, it’s time to look more closely at your data storage.
Having multiple, physical datacenters consumes a huge amount of energy, with some datacenters accounting for up to 50% of the total energy consumption of non-industrial companies. Part of the problem is that legacy servers run 24/7, with up to 90% of the energy consumed when datacenters are idle. This causes breakdowns, sky-high energy bills, and unnecessary emissions.
Consolidating your big data into the cloud and using hyperconverged infrastructures is a simple way to remove these pain points. It can increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions while improving your data security.
- Your Tech Isn’t Set Up for Remote or Hybrid Working
The pandemic has changed the way we view flexible working, with working from home at least some of the time now considered to be the new normal, particularly among younger workers. This presents new data challenges for many organisations, with employees now needing to access company servers securely from home and at high speeds.
If you offer remote and hybrid working then providing fast and efficient access to data from anywhere must become part of your digital transformation strategy. Finding a data management solution that minimises the latency of your application access to storage is vital.
- You Aren’t Confident in Your GDPR Compliance
For all organisations, compliance with data protection regulations builds loyalty and trust with customers. However, many companies, particularly smaller businesses, are worried about their ability to remain compliant.
Data governance is everything you do to keep your data private, accurate, secure, and usable. It includes the processes you follow and the technology that supports you. Data governance is a vital aspect of your data management and is at the core of your GDPR compliance.
Putting a data governance plan in place and taking data protection into account every time you process data can help you stay compliant and avoid a hefty fine. GDPR is already being enforced, so organisations that are yet to embark on a GDPR-compliant governance transformation should start their journey as quickly as possible.
How Airbus France Improved Data Scalability and Security With Hyperconvergence
Airbus Defence & Space operates a Ground Systems IT Platforms Center of Competence (CoC) that specialises in the design of critical information systems dedicated to processing raw data from multiple data sources (satellites, edge devices, aerial systems, internet, etc.). They wanted to upgrade their data management technology to future-proof these critical information systems and increase their reliability, resilience, and scalability.
Olivier Lagarde, Senior Technical Officer of the CoC at Airbus D&S explains: “Innovating while anticipating changes over the next ten to 15 years is no easy task. We needed to strike a balance between meeting business needs and innovation, but also factor in the constraints of the business while ensuring the durability and maturity of the technologies.”
The CoC decided to adopt a software-defined approach rather than using traditional infrastructures as it allows them to streamline the hardware side while increasing the flexibility of its solutions. The engineering department also wanted to consolidate this with the concept of hyperconvergence.
Hyperconvergence was the perfect fit for the project as it allows the ground systems to scale up as they are deployed and for new services to be added without the need to rebuild the design. Airbus D&S launched an extensive study involving 200 tests on every solution on the market, covering performance, resilience, maintainability, and security. And according to Oliver Lagarde, “When it came to making a choice, our approach was fact-based: we have been convinced by Nutanix”
Since the adoption of Nutanix, the CoC has been delighted with the significant progress made during the integration phase:
“Where it took weeks, it now only takes a couple of days. Having a fluid, seamless infrastructure that is quickly up and running changes the game, especially since it factors in security with a level of protection that meets our stringent requirements.”
Make Better Data Management a Priority
Getting on top of data management is non negotiable in 2023. Upgrading to cloud-based infrastructures can increase your data storage capacity, improve the security of your data, and reduce your energy usage. It can also make their workforce more efficient, streamlining and simplifying tedious tasks and freeing up resources to focus on business priorities, rather than just keeping the lights on.
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