Monday, 07 September 2020 17:49

How Australian business can tap data for growth

It’s never been more important to put your business data to work

VENDOR NEWS: It’s incredible to think that despite everything we know about data - the amount we generate, its latent value - and the myriad of tools available to exploit it, most data available to businesses still goes untapped.

Thanks to Seagate’s recent Rethink Data report, we can put a number on it too: 68% of data available to businesses goes unused.

Think of it another way: businesses currently engage in data-driven decision making using only one-third of available data. That may seem like disturbing news, says IDC’s Phil Goodwin, “but in truth, it shows how much opportunity and potential organisations already have at their fingertips.”

At a time when many Australian businesses are facing into COVID-19 headwinds, their ability to use data to better understand customers, personalise offers and differentiate from competitors online has never been more critical. This, more than ever, is the time to put your business data to work to find extra value, identify growth opportunities, to recognise changing needs and have enough advance warning in order to evolve to meet them.

Australian organisations have so far been able to use data analytics to improve customer experience and data governance and to reduce organisational risk. But, with so much data sitting unused, there’s much more to be gained.

The Seagate report makes clear that winning businesses have strong mass data operations, and that the value that a company derives from data directly affects its success.

Successful organisations are those that can harness the value of their data wherever it resides - core, cloud, or edge.

One of the reasons so little data is used is that it is impacted by “data sprawl”. It doesn’t just reside in one location. Instead, around 30% of stored data is found in internal data centres, 20% in third-party data centres, 19% in edge data centre or remote locations, 22% in cloud repositories, and 9% in other locations. This dispersal will continue for the foreseeable future, adding complexity to data management.

While this could cause some businesses to re-evaluate their ambitions, there are emerging ways to ensure ambitions can still be achieved in spite of the challenges. The main challenges facing Australian businesses are making the data usable, making siloed data available and managing storage of the data.

Businesses need new ways to capture the right data, identify it, store it where it is needed, and provide it to decision makers in a usable way.

For many, the starting point is to identify and create a single, unified view of data from across the organisation. The idea is to see everything as if through a single pane of glass. This ensures there is at least basic visibility of the breadth of data available.

Then, to properly manage and harness it, leading businesses are turning to an emerging data management discipline called DataOps. DataOps is the practice of bringing disparate data systems into an understandable entity. It connects the creators of data with the consumers of data in an organisation and helps everyone to make decisions based on insights from reliable, inclusive and accessible pools of data.

In Australia, 6% of businesses have fully implemented DataOps in their organisation (compared to 10% globally). Another 88% of Australian businesses are considering it.

With data an increasingly powerful input into our understanding of the future, we expect more businesses this year to fast-track their DataOps embrace.

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