If you’re like many of the customers I encounter, one thing is clear – data is the lifeforce that drives your business. Yet, the reality is that only a small percentage of businesses are out in front when it comes to being data-first. It’s an urgent directive for IT organizations, with the opportunity for positive outcomes if you’re prepared to take action now.
Let’s look at some of the pathways to becoming data-first.
Identify what’s holding you back
First, look for obstacles that are potentially holding you back. Once you recognize your biggest challenges, you can begin to transform your organization into a truly data-driven business.
Here are some questions that I pose to customers about this very subject. As you consider your current state, answers to these questions will help you recognize where you stand:
- Are you offering up data infrastructure in a self-service manner that supports your stakeholders who use the data and the underlying data infrastructure to propel you forward?
- Do manual IT processes and ongoing firefighting take time away from focusing on strategic business priorities?
- Is your data stuck in different silos, making it difficult to access and manage?
- Do you deliver data, apps, and data infrastructure on-demand to your business, including mission-critical apps? Do you deliver them in a way that’s always-on and always-fast, to meet today’s business demands?
- Can your data move freely from edge to cloud?
- And lastly, can you protect your data against modern threats like cybercrime – including ransomware?
When you think about all these questions together… this is what is referred to more broadly as data management (the ability to store, access, move, and protect your data across its lifecycle as you unlock value from it). Data management issues vary from company to company, but it’s the complexity you need to watch out for.
It’s time to address data management complexity
To further shed some light on this important topic, HPE recently commissioned ESG to look into both how organizations are tackling data management complexities and what benefits the best-performing organizations achieve.* Their findings from 750 IT professionals were eye opening, starting with the role that data management complexity plays.
If you’re wondering if data management complexity is a real, the answer is a simple “yes.” In fact, ESG learned that of the 750 study participants, 68% say the complexity of their IT environment slows down operations and digital initiatives. What’s more alarming: 74% of respondents acknowledge their data management capabilities can’t keep pace with business requirements.
Business and IT leaders are well aware of the need for – and the benefits of – being data-driven as a key to their digital transformation success. It’s why data-first modernization is a must for today’s enterprise. But a complex web of fragmented software and hardware, including disparate management tools, infrastructure silos, and manual processes, is impeding transformational journeys. This complexity – which takes the form of complicated procurement processes, inflexible provisioning cycles, siloed data, constant firefighting, and more – is what IT leaders have to confront and eliminate as a top priority.
There are clear advantages to being data-first, according to that same study. ESG found that organizations that are data-first leaders are:
- 20x more likely than the least mature organizations (referred to as nascent) to beat competitors to market by multiple quarters.
- Data-first organizations drove 49% more innovation in the last year than nascent organizations
- They’re twice as likely to recover faster from ransomware within minutes.
From risk mitigation, to speeding the business, to happier stakeholders, being data-first has quantifiable outcomes for both business and IT. Yet, ESG found that only 13% of respondents could be considered data-first leaders. So if you’re like most, there’s likely work that needs to be done to become data-first. This is where we naturally come back to the importance of simplifying data management complexity.
The game changer – a cloud operational experience
In trying to overcome complexity, IT leaders now look to the cloud model – so much so that 91% of IT leaders in that ESG study agree that mature cloud operations on-premises is the single most important step to eliminate complexity.
The cloud operational experience on-premises is the ultimate game changer. The benefits of cloud are well recognized: self-service, pay-as-you go, scale on demand, and more. We’re not talking here about making a move to the cloud, this is about getting a cloud experience for all your apps and data everywhere. This is why for Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), our aim is to build in a cloud operational experience across our storage portfolio, including simplified data management, that is offered via self-service and available on-demand, enabling you to achieve as-a-service delivery and edge-to-cloud mobility.
Once the cloud operational experience is fully in place, line of business owners and developers can move faster than ever before, businesses benefit from app-centric operations, and infrastructure becomes effectively invisible. Remember, simplifying data management with a cloud operational experience is just one of the keys to accelerating data-first modernization.
How to get there – 3 essential to-do’s
Below are three ways business can accelerate transformation by simplifying data management –all in an effort to become data-first:
- Transform faster with storage as a service: To fast-forward data-driven modernization, you must eliminate the infrastructure management complexity that continues to slow you down. And that’s precisely what makes the new generation of as-a-service storage offerings a perfect fit, which offer self-service agility and cloud operations across hybrid cloud.
- Make your apps and infrastructure autonomous with AI: An AIOps engine helps streamline IT operations. Your data centers, co-locations, edge facilities, and private clouds can have apps and services delivered with the click of a button. An AI-driven infrastructure can prevent applications from disruptions and downtime – not to mention providing resources that scale seamlessly to align with your elastic needs. This gives you more time to focus on the areas that drive your business forward.
- Modernize data protection: You need peace of mind that your data is protected, rapidly recoverable, and always secure. More specifically, you need ways to protect data end-to-end and improve business resilience. HPE’s hybrid cloud back up as-a-service, modern data protection platform, and multi cloud disaster recovery service with Zerto, an HPE company, offers you the flexibility to modernize data protection—from rapid recovery to ransomware protection to long-term data retention—either on premises or in the cloud.
Still not sure where to begin? I suggest you take 5 minutes to assess your data management maturity.Whether you’re well into your digital transformation journey or just beginning, it’s worth understanding your progress toward simplifying data management and becoming data-first.
- Dive a bit deeper into the importance of being data-first. Why Being a Data-first Leader Matters explores the cloud operational experience in detail.
- Become a data-first leader. Take a 5-minute data-first maturity assessment to learn where you stand, gauge your progress toward becoming a data-first leader, and get tips on closing any gaps along the way. At the end of the assessment, you can download a customized report with recommendations on advancing your data management maturity as you make strides toward becoming a data-first leader.
In the end, don’t wait. Find a partner you can trust and discuss ways you simplify data management starting today to put you on a data-first path. No matter where you are in your transformational journey, know that partners like HPE are here to help you every step of the way.
*ESG Data Management Maturity Study, commissioned by HPE, November 2021
About Shilpi Srivastava
Shilpi is the Head of Data Services and Storage Marketing at HPE. With experience spanning cloud services, data storage and cyber security, Shilpi is passionate about technologies that help business innovate and succeed. Shilpi previously led cloud and container solutions marketing at Pure Storage and has held Product Marketing and Technical lead positions at Micro Focus and JP Morgan Chase. She has an Bachelor of Engineering degree from India and an MBA from University of Texas at Austin.