IT Brief Australia - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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How data silos can kill your business
Mon, 4th Feb 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

When data is siloed and hard to share it can have a devastating effect on the health of a business. Ask any IT manager about managing legacy data infrastructures and most likely they'll tell you ‘it's hell'.

While not quite divine intervention, there is however technology innovation to relieve this burden by breaking down silos and converging data management, data protection and scalable storage into a single environment.

The result is a communal environment that can intelligently understand which data needs to be used when and where, which data needs protecting when, where and how, and which data needs to be recovered first in order to protect the entire organisation and get it up and running in the event of failure.    

Why are so many organisations still managing data in a suboptimal way? Perhaps that blame lies with large systems vendors.

These legacy vendors have thrived for many years by encouraging IT buyers to think about their data centers in terms of silos. There are silos for primary data and secondary data. There are silos for data backup, data protection and data analytics software and applications, to name just a few. This is not a good thing. Organisations are being shackled by all their data-infrastructure silos.

So why so many silos? Divide and conquer. Because the legacy vendors figured out early on that they could create multiple billion-dollar market segments by dividing up customer data centers. It's in their best interest to keep these technologies apart because it creates multiple sales opportunities and vendor lock-in by owning all the silos in each customer's data center

To date, these vendors have been wildly successful in cultivating disparate buying groups within the enterprise, persuading each group that its needs are unique and incompatible with those of other groups in the organisation. As long as they can get away with this divide-and-conquer approach, they can sell each group a premium-priced product.

In short, data-infrastructure silos are in the best interest of the vendor, so they persist.

OK, so this is a problem. But how big a problem is it? The Aberdeen Group found that only 15% of users who are operating in organisations that have data silos are satisfied with their data access. Instead, they are routinely frustrated by their inability to incorporate information siloed elsewhere into their own analysis efforts.

What's more, organisations with data silos are only able to deliver timely information to users 55% of the time. When this happens, organisations can't keep up with competitors that manage data better and fail to take advantage of opportunities that come their way. They fail to recognise the opportunities when they do come. By contrast, the study found that 72% of companies without silos can access timely information when needed and take advantage.

A unified, comprehensive data-management infrastructure is needed now more than ever because these days businesses of all sizes are choking on the amount of data they must manage and protect. The problem will get worse, as a raft of new industry regulations are now in effect, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Notifiable Data Breach (NDB) Scheme.

Further, organisations need the ability to put data on mobile devices and know that the data is secure. Even when there is a network issue or data gets deleted, they want to be able to recover that data without worrying about whether they have the proper backup or the right secondary storage setup. They want an all-encompassing data infrastructure that enables them to manage it all with ease.

Can the challenge get bigger? It can. While their job grows, IT groups are being asked to do more with less. They're also being asked to work smarter and more effectively, so they can add real value to the business. Meanwhile, a typical business processes 100 times more data today than it did 20 years ago.  No wonder so many are in ‘data management hell.'

As previously mentioned: change is coming in the form of innovation intervention. New players and concepts are challenging the siloed world of the big vendors. Today's converged data-management and protection systems meet all the needs of the enterprise simultaneously and break down those ugly yester-year data silos once and for all. Even better, they do it while flattening the technology stack, delivering far greater cost-efficiency to the business and, ultimately, enabling organisations to better compete in the digital economy

The best way to achieve success is by streamlining the data-management infrastructure and, you guessed it: eliminating data silos. Organisations simply don't have the time, resources or bandwidth to be managing six different data infrastructure silos. They need to break down the walls and move to a single system that is efficient, cost-effective, easy to use and infinitely scalable. A system that is self-protecting and intelligently analyses data, so it can react to the changing needs of the organisation and the various levels of data the business creates.

The seamless flow of data is key to transforming your business. If data can feed the entire organisation, it can thrive and compete effectively in the digital world. It's time to smash data silos and remove the barriers that are holding back your business. When you have better access to data, you can make better, faster decisions—without all those silos cluttering up your path to success. It won't promise a path to heaven, but it will most certainly improve your earthly existence.