As organisations map out business strategies for the year ahead, increasing attention is being given to data management. Once regarded as a task for the IT department, it's now rapidly becoming a priority at executive levels, sometimes all the way to the board level.
This shift is occurring for a variety of reasons. Rising data volumes mean approaches that have worked in the past are no longer effective. Organisations are also becoming more aware of the value of the data that they hold. Managers are recognising that putting it to better use can deliver them a point of differentiation and an edge over their competitors.
There will be a number of key trends that will shape data strategies during the coming 12 months. These include:
Continuing cloud migration:
Rather than deploying and maintaining on-premise data infrastructures, growing numbers of organisations will opt to shift their resources to a cloud platform. The key driver for this is the need for improved business agility and being able to maintain competitiveness in challenging market conditions.
Senior managers are tired of the traditional approach where IT infrastructure requirements often had to be estimated years in advance. Taking advantage of cloud resources means that capacities can be rapidly boosted to meet changes in business demand, and this approach is particularly important when it comes to effective data management.
Temporary Increase use of hybrid data warehouses:
Companies will find themselves in need of hybrid configurations, where some capacity is retained on-premise and some is placed on a cloud platform. For a few it may be a desired end state, but for the majority it will be an interim state resulting from the longer journey that migration to the cloud entails.
Organisations will identify applications and data stores that can be readily migrated and shift those first. Gradually, this will be followed by others as a way to do a rolling move to the cloud..
As a result, organisations will find themselves with a hybrid data warehouse infrastructure as a ‘stepping-stone' within a longer-term strategic shift to be in the cloud, at least for the majority of organisations.
Emergence of multi-cloud data environments:
Many customers want to follow a multi-cloud data strategy. However they find they have their hands full just making an infrastructure based on a single cloud work effectively and efficiently.
During the next 12 months, technologies will emerge that make the management of multi-cloud-environments much easier. Automation tools will remove much of the need for manual intervention, reducing the workload for IT teams and improving performance for users.
Organisations will increasingly begin to look at their data infrastructure as a single entity, regardless of the fact that it is likely to comprise resources drawn from a variety of different clouds.
Ongoing focus on security and privacy:
As the importance and value of data continues to grow, maintaining adequate security at all times has become critical. This situation will remain the case during the coming 12 months as security and privacy increasingly become board-level issues.
Leading organisations will take the time and effort to carefully review all data being collected and stored and ensure the measures in place to keep it secure are sufficient. Achieving adherence to regulations such as GDPR will provide another motivation for this activity.
Rise in use of AI:
Even though hype around the potential of artificial intelligence is high, the majority of organisations are not yet putting the technology to work. While some early adopters are deploying some tools designed for specific tasks, usage is still very much in an early phase. However, as understanding of what is possible grows, this usage will quickly rise.
AI tools can be used to spot patterns and trends within large data sets that previously would have gone unnoticed. Armed with these insights, organisations can be much better placed when it comes to strategic business planning.
Growth in data sharing and monetisation:
Increasing numbers of organisations are coming to realise that the data they hold is not only of value to them, but also to others. As a result, many will explore opportunities to share data sets externally and potentially generate new revenue streams.
Before undertaking this strategy, it is important to ensure strict adherence to privacy regulations. Any personally identifiable details should be removed from data sets and its access and usage strictly controlled.
Data will continue to grow in both volume and value during the coming year. Organisations that understand its worth and put in place plans to capitalise on this trend will be best placed to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.