By: James Robertson, CTO Advisor\/Technology Strategist, Office of the CTO, at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.\nData is at the heart of everything a business does, and the technology infrastructure that exists today can help organization to move, store, and even act upon that data. Most organizations today often focus on moving and storing that data; they do not act upon it. By exploring the ways data can be leveraged for the benefit of the organization, technology leaders can drive new outcomes and initiatives, generating additional untapped value for key stakeholders from partners to customers, to employees, and even the broader world. \u00a0\nHistorically, technology teams kept lots of data on behalf of the business, mostly with a fear that if they did not have it, they could not respond to potential compliance or legal needs. Data was archived, it was preserved, and with that, its size grew exponentially and became a headache to store. Usually, all that data was condemned to the company archives to gather dust until its shelf life was truly over. Data\u2019s true value became lost or simply part of company history.\nAntonio Neri, CEO of HPE, during his keynote at Discover 2021 in June observed that data has value, and he predicts that the value attributed to data in a business would become a critical component of virtually any companies\u2019 balance sheets and reporting, if not already.\nA New Approach to Historical Data\nHistorical business data is now being explored and leveraged in a more meaningful way than ever before. For the first time in computing history, organizations have the power of the cloud to bring the scale required to fully unlock the potential of every facet of that information, regardless of the size of the business.\nThe data paradigm is shifting from \u201cplease archive, because we have to\u201d to \u201cexplore, because we need to,\u201d requiring IT leaders to examine or re-examine data across every surface of their organization to glean any nuggets of insight that might enhance the business in new or entirely differentiated ways\u2014all in a never-ending quest to add value to the bottom line.\nData is More Than a Commodity, It\u2019s Foundational\nAs a result, data is more than just \u201cthe new oil,\u201d it\u2019s the new \u201csoil.\u201d It\u2019s foundational; it empowers business leaders to build knowledge that drives new experiences and ultimately allow organizations to build upwards and outwards, including the development of new products, capabilities, and service offerings. Data that was once considered obsolete or of no value, proverbially lost on the seabed floor of the organization for good, has new life and a name \u2013 a data lake \u2013 where it can be queried in infinite permutations to extract value.\nNew Capabilities for Extracting Value from Data \nIt\u2019s not for a lack of trying that IT teams have struggled to even understand its own data, let alone act upon it. In response, technology vendors are introducing new capabilities all the time to try and make sense of all those lakes of data: management systems, databases of logs, alerts and warnings, packet flow tools, and all kinds of other techniques are leveraged to try and understand that data from identifying issues to uncovering security concerns.\nHowever, organizations often don\u2019t go far enough in how they examine data. By first taking a step back to look at the bigger picture view, including both historical and streaming data, organizations can more effectively build the data foundation that will empower leadership to support every decision, every outcome, every need, through a deeper understanding of data that can generate improved outcomes.\nBuilding the Data Foundation at Cloud Scale \nUltimately, the cloud is the key piece required to scale to the point where the cost of processing and storing data is negligible compared with the intrinsic value it can produce. Through the cloud, networks will be able to self-optimize, where proactivity and knowledge reveal changing trends or alert to impending issues before they become an issue, where potential security concerns are identified and mitigated in real time. Ultimately, organizations can create a truly self-orchestrating network infrastructure \u2013 driven by business rules and fortified through data analysis.\nThat\u2019s what Aruba is building\u2014improving connectivity powered by data that is also designed around business needs, all enhanced by artificial intelligence. This is underpinned with robust, secure, and flexible infrastructure components that can enable any need anywhere, all at cloud scale. In short, Aruba is building a simpler, smarter infrastructure through the Edge Services Platform (ESP) to empower organizations to convert its data into business outcomes once unimaginable a generation ago.\nFor more on how Aruba ESP can support your organization in placing data at the foundation of the network infrastructure, visit\u00a0here\u00a0or review this recent report from IDC called Modernizing Datacenter and Edge Networks for Cloud-Era Centers of Data.