Enterprise-wide data management platforms are essential for data-driven organisations to gain or maintain a competitive advantage.
This is according to new research from IDC, commissioned by Rubrik, a cloud data management company. The research focused on data sprawl and how IT organisations are prepared to deal with it.
IDC finds that more than 80% of IT leaders surveyed say data sprawl is one of the most critical problems their organisations must address today.
Given that the volume of data companies need to manage is expected to more than double every two years, IDC analysts predict that the challenge of managing data sprawl will be more and more complicated.
As IT leaders accelerate their digital transformation initiatives to weather the COVID-19 crisis, they are recognising that cloud is an important part of their IT infrastructure and will be a critical area of investment when it comes to managing data sprawl, the analysts state.
As leaders seek to leverage data for business insights, data center consolidation and cloud migration will be at the heart of their strategy to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
By consolidating data centers and adopting a cloud-first strategy, organisations can achieve more efficient IT architectures and mitigate enterprise risk, as well as leverage the flexibility and scalability of cloud deployments, the research states.
In fact, IDC has found that 70% of surveyed CIOs have a cloud-first application deployment strategy. However, few organisations have an effective and efficient enterprise-wide data management strategy and platform to gain the full potential from their data.
These challenges will continue to grow as valuable data is commonly spread across data centers, private cloud(s), and public cloud locations such as SaaS applications and at the edge, including remote locations, endpoint devices, and specialised IoT devices.
Rubrik chief technologist Chris Wahl says, “As the amount of data generated by enterprise organisations continues to skyrocket, a powerful, policy-driven data management platform is imperative to business success.
"Many organisations still struggle to manage and secure their data as they adopt cloud strategies, which will only contribute to the data fragmentation problem.
IDC research director Phil Goodwin says, “Valuable data is now commonly spread across multiple physical locations and different repository types. This creates a problem of data sprawl and fragmentation, meaning that appropriate stakeholders do not have access or know where to find the right data to make informed business decisions.
“As a result, they are unable to leverage their data to its fullest extent. It also stymies robust AI, machine learning, analytics and compliance solutions that need enterprise visibility to operate optimally.
IDC and Rubrik also looked at what businesses can do to maximise data leverage for better business outcomes. The analysts found that IT organisations still struggle to capitalise on the value of their data, which can drastically impact their bottom line.
In fact, organisations that were surveyed without an enterprise-wide data management solution incur 66% more operational costs and are 67% slower to market than their innovative peers, IDC states.
By contrast, leading innovators (as defined in the study) in data management achieve 69% more revenue and 57% more profit. These leading organisations also have 72% greater customer satisfaction and are able to deploy 62% more new products and services, indicating high potential for lasting leadership in the marketplace.
IDC also finds that organisations are unprepared to manage data growth, and focusing here can improve outcomes for businesses. While businesses understand the importance of data management, yet most are not doing enough to prepare for future data challenges, the researchers state.
For example, 44.5% of respondents anticipate that data sprawl will be a major or devastating issue two years from now if their organisation continues in its present approach to data control and management.
Furthermore, only 9.2% of organisations have a single, centralised data management system or platform. The amount of data organisations manage and generate will only continue to grow, and as a result, organisations that are not developing a sound data strategy today will be unprepared for future challenges associated with data sprawl and fragmentation.
IDC also states that cloud is critical to digital transformation. 60% of organisations surveyed having either completed or started digital transformation initiatives in order to become more data-driven and increase data leverage.
Cloud initiatives are critical to these digital transformation initiatives, and IT teams cite investments in cloud computing (private, public, hybrid and multicloud) as their highest organisational priority.
Although organisations may seek to modernise their current environment by transitioning to a multicloud ecosystem, most still encounter significant challenges in doing so.
IDC notes that organisations should seek a cloud-first solution to help them effectively navigate this transition. Analysts also recommend seeking the following elements when searching for a technology solution that will mitigate the risks of data sprawl, future-proof ones IT environment, and improve data management innovation:
Consolidated platform, centralised policy-engine, metadata management, API-driven extensibility, and the ability to search, ingest, and classify data.
Ultimately, IDC states that positive business outcomes result from data management solutions. IT organisations surveyed that do have a more sophisticated cloud data management strategy, they are already reaping the benefits, according to the analysts.
Specifically, staff productivity has increased by 24% with employees spending 64% more time on new initiatives rather than ‘just keeping the lights on.'
Additionally, unplanned downtime decreased by 59% for those with modernised data environments. Data management innovation leaders are also able to strategically leverage metadata intelligence, allowing them to gain insights into how their data is changing, who is accessing it, where it's located, and whether or not it is compliant.
By ingesting, indexing, and accessing data across silos in a unified manner, organisations are able to limit the risk of sensitive data exposure with native immutability, simplify data management across their entire environment, and unlock critical insights from their data.
Leading innovators are ultimately leveraging data to disrupt new markets and gain a competitive advantage through strategic data management innovations, including consolidating data onto a single platform, deploying intelligent policy engines, automating workflows, and deploying applications and policies to simplify data governance, IDC states.