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Data in the 21st century: Harness the power of a new age

By Contributor, Mon 18 Jan 2021

Article by Splunk A/NZ group vice president Simon Eid.

The impact and value of data have never been more profound. The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare how critical data is not only for our businesses, but society at large. Countries that have recognised data’s value have leveraged it to track the pandemic, stop the spread and reopen their communities and economies smoothly.

With traditional mainstays of economic life shut down - employees working from home, storefronts shuttered - businesses that had a head start on their digital transformation have used data to innovate in a way that is creating entirely new revenue streams.

Organisations and enterprises that ignore or manipulate data in today’s world are failing, not just themselves, but their communities. Not to mention, they’re ignoring immense opportunities for innovation and growth. 

Data has always existed and now has taken centre stage in society. Data is more accessible than ever and we have the technology to harness it. It’s common to hear that data is the oil of our age. We’ve been on this road for a few decades now, but with the arrival of the new technologies over the last few years there is no denying it; the Data Age is here. 

The data age is here - but what is it?

Today, data is all around us -- and most of it we don’t even see. Splunk’s recent study, The Data Age is here, are you ready?, shows two-thirds of industry leaders in Australia say the sheer quantity of data will grow nearly 5x by 2025. We know there are around 40 trillion gigabytes of data (40 zettabytes) in the world today, and that a single individual generates 1.7 megabytes of data per second. Technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and 5G will continue to increase the data we have access to.

5G, in particular, is moving at warp speed. Sixty percent of IT and business managers plan to use 5G in the future and the average adoption prediction is 2.6 years; that being said just over a third of business and IT managers in Australia rating their own understanding of 5G as “expert” or “high”, showing that we must learn to adapt and move quickly in this ever-evolving landscape.

The idea that the amount of data in the world will increase by 5x in the next five years is almost unfathomable. And that was before COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation. With this explosion of data, we are innovating on an unprecedented scale. 

With a new age, comes so much opportunity to thrive and, ultimately, define the age. Just think of the Henry Fords and Thomas Edisons of the past. They saw a business opportunity in new technology, grabbed it and changed the world. Data is today’s greatest business opportunity -- and everyone seems to know it.

Sixty-seven percent of organisations surveyed expect the value of data to grow in the next ten years. But the reality is, the world is already well on the way to surpassing 200 zettabytes of data and organisations who aren’t prepared to harness the power of the data they’re accruing are going to fall behind.

Now there is COVID-19, which is forcing non-businesses to adapt in this Data Age at warp speed. For example, a university in Australia suspended all on-campus education activities and transitioned fully to online classes and work from home due to COVID-19. They had to find a way to mitigate security risks, ensure the students and staff are connected and engaged, and ensure they have immediate visibility and insights for the leadership team to ensure security, operation and business continuity.

Additionally, an IT organisation supporting the healthcare services in Australia has pivoted overnight, with over 70% of the workforce (40,000 employees) working remotely, leading to an exponential uptick in virtual systems. They needed to expand their digital capacities quickly, and certify that the solutions for external access to support working from home were resilient.

With such a shift in culture, it became essential to investigate, monitor, analyse and act to get the job done, and improve overall productivity levels. Splunk turns data into doing, allows you to build a more resilient organisation, accelerate cloud-driven transformation, exceed customer expectations and truly thrive in the Data Age.

As the world around us continues to shift and evolve at an extraordinary rate, it’s important to consider what your organisation stands to lose if you don’t innovate quickly enough. Similar to the Dot Com boom of the 1990s, 2020 will go down in history as a year the world saw a substantial shift in the way we approach innovation and technology -- and data will be recognised as an enabler of digital transformation at scale.

Like the Agrarian and Industrial Ages before it, data now defines how we live, work, play and everything in between. If you miss this chance to harness the power of a new age, there won’t be another. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and what businesses do with it will change the world.

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