Why B2B organizations need to shift to a more data-centric approach
Businesses are producing and analyzing data at a rapidly increasing rate. Whether it’s financial information, manufacturing and supply chain data, customer insights, or statistics from Internet-of-Things-enabled devices, data is generating new insights. The data-centric approach is creating new efficiencies and contributing to the bottom line.
Data is at the foundation of every organization, as important to many business operations as physical infrastructure. Data is vital to decision-making, profitability, productivity, and impacts so many other drivers of business success.
Faced with the exponential growth of data, the choice of technology infrastructure is critical to harness its power. Unlocking the potential of data to maximize business outcomes and technology investments is a new need.
Adopting a data-centric approach
Shifting to a more data-centric approach should begin with a strategic discussion. Capturing and analyzing data should not be done without purpose. You need to identify a business problem and then ask what data sources could provide information to help solve that problem.
Once you know what data you need to capture, there are some basic questions you can ask to plan out a data-centric strategy. These include:
- Who owns the data?
- What does the existing IT architecture look like?
- Data access frequency?
- Do analytics need to be applied to the data?
- How secure does the data need to be?
Pitfalls to avoid
Historically, organizations have focused more on an IT-infrastructure-first approach than on a strategy-first approach. For example, they might have switched from owning and operating all their IT hardware to a cloud computing-based model in an effort to reduce costs. But this often led to unexpected inflated costs and less efficient data processing.
Your IT infrastructure should not be chosen based solely on an effort to lower costs or adopt what’s new. Different data sets work best on different IT infrastructures. You need to look at what data challenges you are trying to solve. Thereafter, choosing the best IT architecture that meets those requirements. Some applications may be best suited to being in the cloud, whether private or public. Some applications might run on your own hardware, either on your premises or co-located in a secure data center, or in a data center operated by a third party. It all depends on your needs and how you will be using your data.
Benefits of a Data As Infrastructure approach
Organizations will benefit from taking a Data As Infrastructure approach in their own unique ways.
As an example, a company that uses unique, proprietary processors to generate insights from massive data sets needed a fast infrastructure to support its solution. Their customers, such as telecommunications providers, rely on the company’s technology to improve customer experience. They make more efficient use of their resources and come to better-informed decisions. The company had grown its business and needed a fast, scalable infrastructure that would support its technology. Ultimately, it found a cloud service that could move its data faster and allowed it to better serve its customers.
This is just one example of how a Data As Infrastructure strategy can help build value for an organization, but there are many more. People continue to use connected devices while mobility and bandwidth are growing. With the expansion of 5G networks, there will be even more opportunities to benefit from collecting and analyzing vast amounts of data.
When planning to take advantage of this trove of information, just remember that it’s the data that will help you solve your business problems. Unlocking the potential of that data, so it is reliably secure and accessible, maximizes business outcomes and your technology investments.
Susan Bowen is the CEO and President of Aptum, a global hybrid, multi-cloud managed service provider based in Toronto. With over 20 years’ experience in the technology industry, Susan understands the importance of transformational leadership to stay at the forefront of customer needs and expectations.