Data represents a store of value and a strategic opportunity for enterprises across all industries. From edge to cloud to core, businesses are producing data in vast quantities, at an unprecedented pace. And they’re now rapidly evolving their data management strategies to efficiently cope with data at scale and seize the advantage. … Or are they?

Well, some are. Those are the data-first organisations, the industry leaders who understand that, amid a flood of data, navigating via data-first principles to radically simplify data management is not only critical to surviving and thriving in the long run, but also essential right now, when advantages in data management can determine a company’s future success.

Interested in how to bring a digital-first mindset to your organisation? Read how to lead a digital transformation.

Let’s look at some real numbers. According to the results of a recent survey of 750 IT professionals from analyst firm ESG, 93% of IT decision-makers see storage and data management complexity impeding digital transformation. However, only 13% of surveyed organisations could be considered data-first leaders. In other words, everyone knows that data management is a major challenge, but very few have been able to turn obstacles into opportunities.

That’s why simplifying data management now is a crucial initiative: There’s plenty of running room to establish future competitiveness and market position. To go deeper, let’s break down the pressing need for a data-first approach in three ways:

 

1. A data-first strategy is the rocket ship to innovation

Hidden in your data is a new world of possibilities, new customer experiences, and the next wave of applications that will drive tomorrow’s business outcomes. We see evidence of this from numerous perspectives. But right now, that data likely spans edge, cloud, and core, and a good portion of it may be difficult to access and manage due to silos and complexity.

How much complexity? ESG found that, on average, surveyed organisations relied on 23 different data management tools. Picture all that hardware and software, the silos they represent, and the difficulty of using all those tools to manage the lifecycle of data and data infrastructure — including access, protection, governance, and analysis — across an edge-to-cloud environment. It’s overwhelming.

ESG also found that 74% of respondents acknowledged that their data management capabilities can’t keep up with business requirements. That means slow deployments, lots of tuning and maintenance, delays from manual provisioning, and ultimately missed SLAs that affect the entire organisation. Without efficiently serving data at speed to your stakeholders, you’re missing opportunities and losing time.

This bears repeating: There’s a real cost to standing pat and doing nothing about data management complexity. Fortunately, there’s also a simple solution: go data-first.

 

2. To achieve digital transformation, you need simplified data management

Digital transformation is what every modern enterprise seeks, but it’s difficult to imagine successful digital transformation without first solving for data management, which is a core competency of any data-driven organisation. The key to simplifying data management is to deliver the cloud operational experience wherever your data lives. In the real world, data and apps are needed everywhere — which is why organisations are moving away from a cloud-first strategy and going data-first. Delivering cloud operations on-premises, at the edge, and in off-premises locations is truly transformational and precisely what a data-first strategy seeks to harness.

In a previous article, we discussed the pathways to simplify data management from edge to cloud and the substantial business benefits to going data-first. To truly power digital transformation, you need to deliver a cloud operational experience for your apps and data wherever they live via these key steps:

  • Transform faster with infrastructure-as-a-service. Leverage a new generation of as-a-service storage and infrastructure offerings for self-service agility and cloud operations across hybrid cloud.
  • Make your apps and infrastructure autonomous with AI. Harness an AIOps engine to streamline IT operations across your environment, enabling delivery of elastically scalable apps and services with the click of a button and without disruptions.
  • Modernise data protection. Move to end-to-end, resilient data protection, including as-a-service hybrid cloud backup and disaster recovery, for flexibility, rapid recovery, and ransomware protection.

 

3. Start now, and data-first is a race you can win

A data-first strategy means you can move faster than your competition. Data-first yields faster time-to-market, happier stakeholders, and more satisfied consumers. Ultimately, it leads to accelerated business success and — since data-first entails simplified data management and a modern approach to data protection — lower risk.

To illustrate how data-first organisations tend to pull away from the pack, consider this: ESG found that data-first organisations were 20x more likely to beat competitors to market by multiple quarters. At the same time, they were 2x more likely to recover from ransomware attacks within minutes.

With numbers like these, the gap between data-first organisations and everyone else is set to grow substantially, and the sooner you join the first group, the better.

 

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