To achieve and maintain competitiveness, businesses strive for maximum efficiency in their operations, examining and reviewing processes to see if they can be streamlined, made more flexible.
Today, collecting, storing, analysing data and exploiting data insights are fundamental to business success. As with any other business process, these activities can be optimised for maximum efficiency and maximum business benefit.
To look further into how businesses are handling their data and help the organisations tackle the rising challenges in data management, Seagate Technology commissioned IDC to survey mid-sized businesses and large enterprises, identify their most pressing data management challenges, and the solutions to them. They have published their findings in Rethink Data: Put More of Your Business Data to Work— From Edge to Cloud.
In the report, DataOps is identified as the missing link in data management. It’s neither a technology nor a process, but rather an emerging discipline of connecting data consumers with data creators to enable collaboration and accelerate innovation.
Proper implementations of DataOps can lead to measurably better business outcomes: boosted customer loyalty, revenue, profit, and a host of other benefits.
Drowning in data
It’s well known that data volumes are growing rapidly: respondents to the survey said they expected to see, on average, a 42.2 percent annual growth over 2020 and 2021.
Rethink Data also shows enterprise data ecosystems becoming increasingly complex. Data is now spread across multiple clouds and between core and edge, greatly increasing data management challenges and leaving much of the value in data untapped.
Survey responses indicate about 30 percent of data is now stored in internal data centres, 20 percent in third party data centres, 19 percent in edge data centres, 22 percent in cloud repositories and nine percent elsewhere.
Those percentages are not expected to change significantly, but, data stored at the edge is becoming increasingly important. Valuable data can be found in road vehicles, in barns on the farm, on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean. And data movements in an increasingly varied ecosystem, that includes multicloud and the edge, are becoming more complex.
Rethink Data shows only 32 percent of data available to enterprises is being put to work. Survey respondents identified the main challenges as: collecting, storing and securing data (two thirds of survey respondents report insufficient data security); managing data across multiple silos, and making data useful.
Beware of human silos
Making data accessible also makes it potentially less secure, but the barriers to accessibility are not only technical. Data silos are often locked away in human silos. Data is power, and in the minds of many, ceding control of data means ceding power.
Even when the technical and human barriers around data silos can be overcome, common standards are needed to govern how data is stored and analysed if that data is to be useful across the enterprise.
The answer to many of these challenges is DataOps, and this is widely recognised. The majority of respondents surveyed for Rethink Data said DataOps was “very” or “extremely” important, but only 10 percent of organisations said they had fully implemented DataOps across the enterprise.
The power of DataOps
DataOps can exploit technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to help an enterprise correlate data from disparate sources and create a common data structure.
Rethink Data identifies the keys to DataOps as metadata management, data classification and policy management. Data can be classified by type, such as personally identifiable information. AI algorithms can then automatically recognise data and make associations.
DataOps is particularly well suited to the iterative learning approach required by AI-driven applications. Unlike data analytics, which searches to a specific problem, DataOps finds relationships between data, and searches for insights.
For example, such insights might show consumers making seemingly unrelated product purchases together, an insight that could be used to fine tune marketing practices.
Unlocking a treasure trove of data value
Data is a treasure trove of value, value that translates into business growth and success. This value can only be maximised if data can be stored, accessed and analysed comprehensively and effectively. That’s easier said than done. Respondents to the Rethink Data survey identified many barriers, but their responses also identified DataOps as, in large part, the solution to data management challenges.
Combined with analytics-enabled data orchestration and a well-functioning data architecture DataOps leads to measurably better business outcomes: improved customer loyalty and satisfaction, better profits, higher revenues, and greater employee retention and productivity.
The Rethink Data report underscores why DataOps is essential for data management, why companies need to get a better handle on “data in motion” and the processes supporting AI and data analysis, and how multi-cloud platforms are becoming the new normal for many enterprises.
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