By: Claude Schuck, regional manager, Middle East at Veeam
Last year, cloud computing entered the Slope of Enlightenmenton Gartner’s infamous Hype Cycle for the first time in its history. This marked the inflection point at which cloud stopped being something CIOs and IT managers talked about, but didn’t necessarily implement, and became a must-have for any digital business.
At the same time, if you look at the Gartner Hype Cycle for data management, there are a raft of technologies all with different levels of understanding, relevance and importance. From DataOps and Machine Learning-Enabled Data Management at the entry stage of Innovation Trigger to Data Integration and Information Archiving approaching the Plateau of Productivity. While cloud is fast-becoming recognised as an industry-standard for modern IT infrastructure, data management is growing rapidly in its importance to businesses.
Moreover, businesses are beginning to understand their data much better. Being able to access the right data at the right time, and recover it when it’s lost or damaged, can determine the success of a business.
Enter Cloud Data Management
With Cloud Data Management: an inherent part of Intelligent Data Management, data is available across the business, centrally managed, controlled and located where it will deliver the most value for the organization. In today’s digital and data-driven economy, organizations of all types and sizes require the ability to manage data across multi-cloud environments and ensure it is protected no matter where it resides. Maintaining data availability at all times is key to enabling teams to respond instantly and appropriately to what matters anywhere across the enterprise’s infrastructure.
Veeam’s 2019 Cloud Data Management report, which surveyed over 1,500 business leaders globally, found that almost half (44%) see data management as critical to their businesses’ success in the next two years. Amongst the businesses making the most intelligent use of data management, there were four common components: cloud, confidence, capabilities and culture.
Scaling with the cloud
European Commission statisticsshow that over half of EU enterprises are now using advanced cloud services relating to financial and accounting software applications, customer relationship management (CRM) or enterprise applications. This percentage is only rising as hyperscalers continue to layer value-add services onto their stacks – enabling customers to leverage AI and machine learning, big data analytics, and voice and image searching to deliver greater business value from their data.
This notion is backed up by the fact that nearly three-quarters (72%) of companies are looking to Cloud Data Management to enable more intelligent use of data across the business. Business leaders are looking to data management to deliver benefits through increasing productivity, maintaining corporate stability and improving their ability to forecast and make better informed decisions. The majority stated that they are using Software as a Service (77%), citing reliability, flexibility and data security as their top three reasons for doing so.
Investing with confidence
Given the emphasis the needs of the digital business place on its IT infrastructure, CIOs need to have confidence in its ability to help their organization stay responsive, available and on the front foot. Incidents such as outages can sap this confidence, stunt future innovation, and damage customer confidence. Almost three-quarters (73%) of organizations are unable to meet users’ demands for uninterrupted access to applications and data. This may partly explain why only 25% of business leaders reported total confidence in their capability to meet their digital challenges.
As well as investing in robust, scalable and flexible solutions to mission-critical issues such as backup, disaster recovery and data protection, organizations need the right skills and capabilities to manage their data estates. That’s why business leaders said that they will spend an average of $41 million on deploying technologies to build a more intelligent business within the next 12 months.
Combining technological and human capabilities
Clearly, the expectations of what data management can deliver for the business are high and the appetite for return on technology investment is insatiable. Once new technologies are deployed, business leaders expect to see financial benefits in nine months, with operational benefits in seven months.
For effective results to be realised within a short space of time, businesses must ensure that they have the necessary skills to on-board employees with new systems. In fact, the vast majority (91%) of organizations view upskilling employees’ digital skills as vital to their success. This sometimes requires an element of cultural transformation, particularly when an organization is looking to establish more data-driven decision-making processes.
Establishing a data-driven culture
The cloud is a great equaliser for businesses – levelling the playing field in terms of the technological haves and have nots. Most businesses are now producing data at a rate of knots, so it’s more about how that data is managed, analysed and used to inform faster and more effective decision making. A business can produce huge amounts of data but if it doesn’t adopt a data-driven culture at the C-level, it can be a burden rather than an advantage.
More than two-thirds (69%) of business leaders agree that company culture needs to become more open and accepting as they digitally transform, while 93% agree that leadership styles will also need to change. Cloud Data Management is an opportunity for every business and something which must be implemented at the most senior level of the business and executed right across the pyramid.
In summary, building strong digital foundations that centre on data availability will be vital to the future of every organization. Within this context, technology has never been so important to a business’ success. Organizations around the world rely on a whole host of digital platforms for everything from keeping the lights on to creating ground-breaking, new offerings for customers. This, combined with implementing a data-driven culture which maximizes the value of the data available to the business, will enable the next-generation of industry disruptors and innovators to scale securely.