Many organizations have become adept at collecting data at scale, but too few have mastered the art (and science) of filtering the deluge to identify insights and initiate actions that drive favorable business outcomes and increase competitive differentiation.\n\nAcross industries and enterprises, data continues to explode, increasing in volume, variety, and velocity. According to IDC estimates, 64.2 zettabytes of data was created or replicated in 2020, and the amount of digital data created from 2021-2025 will be more than twice the amount of data created since the advent of digital storage. Internet of things (IoT) data is the fastest growing segment, followed by social media and video. Given that one zettabyte is the equivalent of about 250 billion DVDs, it\u2019s understandable that enterprises are struggling to keep up. \n\nWithout secure, scalable infrastructure and effective governance processes to sort through all this data\u2014along with a culture that empowers people to put its insights to good use\u2014organizations will face a growing delta between the sprawl of the enterprise data estate and their ability to parlay it into competitive advantage. Many organizations will struggle to use data to support agile decision-making, improve customer experiences, and drive decisive actions\u2014linchpins for innovative and efficient business.\n\n\u201cThe gap is between organizations\u2019 desire to put data to use and become more data-driven, versus the actual value they\u2019re getting from all the data they have,\u201d says Ishit Vachhrajani, Director, Enterprise Strategy at AWS. \u201cThe challenge is how to tie data to the outcomes or the experiences you\u2019re trying to achieve.\u201d\n\nPart of the challenge lies with existing data infrastructure and organizational processes that have fallen behind, making it difficult to keep up with the growing velocity and variety of data. Yet even those companies that have figured out how to capture and convert data into useful insights may still struggle to fully maximize the value of data and turn it into tangible and profitable business action.\n\n\u201cMany times, folks are crystal clear on the insights, but all the silos and centralized decision-making prevent the insights from being acted upon,\u201d Vachhrajani says.\n\nA modern data strategy\n\nTraditional one-size-fits-all approaches to databases and analytics, driven by the need for efficiency, no longer hold up in today\u2019s diverse data landscape. Extracting more value from this now abundant resource requires a modern data strategy\u2014one that isn\u2019t just a technology initiative, but rather an organizational mandate to manage, access, collect, analyze, and act on data in an intentional way.\n\nTo turn things around, Vachhrajani recommends a modern data strategy that encompasses three core capabilities:\n\nAttention across all three of these capabilities will help leadership teams unify silos across systems, departments, and people, making it easier not just to share data, but also to reduce the distance and friction between where data is collected and decisions are made. This will shorten the time between insights and action to drive better and quicker outcomes.\n\nUsing data to its full potential requires more than having just one data store or one data lake; it\u2019s about having a complete, end-to-end solution, with purpose-built databases to store and process the data and a data lake to unite all the data. Analytics and visualization tools are required to extract insights from the data, AI and machine learning will help turn those insights into predictions and add intelligence to applications. Finally, for any of this to work, you need to make sure that you have the right security and governance in place to put data in the hands of people at all levels of the organization.\n\nThe ultimate goal of a modern data strategy is innovation, which involves using data to create new and improved ways of achieving business outcomes, whether that\u2019s making better, faster decisions, enhancing customer experience and loyalty, staying ahead of the competition, or preparing for the future. Some organizations already are following that playbook and blazing a path to data-driven business. Here are three:\n\nTo facilitate their journey, these and other data strategy leaders are embracing a variety of best practices. Among them:\n\nHarnessing data to reinvent your business, while challenging, is imperative to staying relevant now and in the future. It\u2019s survival of the most informed; those that survive and thrive will put their data to work to make better, faster decisions, improve customer experience and loyalty, and stay ahead of the competition.\n\nLearn more about ways to put your data to work on the most scalable, trusted, and secure cloud.