Businesses today operate in a data-driven economy, in which data is a commodity that is collected, stored, shared, and sold as a valuable resource. Companies use data to make critical business decisions, forecast sales, develop marketing plans, research future products, and analyze potential security threats.
The more we use data, the more data we generate. We mine data from social media, customer lists, smart devices, internal reports, government databases, and competitors web sites. The volume of data stored on servers and shared across networks continues to swell. By 2025 the global pool of data will reach 175 zettabytes, according to IT research company IDC.
Companies that successfully compete in this data-driven economy use data to gain insight into the future, said Chris Fuller, principal solutions architect for Pure Storage.
“The old way of making decisions was founded on what folks had done in the past, what a competitor has done that was successful,” he said. “Now though, data has opened up a new approach to management. Data gives us the scientific basis to understand what we should be doing and not always relying on our gut.”
I spoke to Chris Fuller spoke about the importance of data and how companies can start their own data analytics projects. Here are some snippets from our conversation. Watch the full interview below.
How businesses approach the data-driven economy
Matt: Pure Storage is at the forefront of data storage and analytics, so no doubt you speak to many customers about their data project plans. From your experience, how are businesses addressing the data-driven economy? Are they implementing data-driven projects, and what advice can you offer them?
Chris: Well I’ve never spoken to a customer who’s complained about having too much data. They never ask to get rid of data. Often, I see companies that are starting to dabble in data analytics, and I usually recommend that they collect all of the data they can. Very often there are tidbits of information in that data that you might not think are important, but a data scientist who’s trained to see the nuances in the data can pair those tidbits with other information to produce something transformational. So I always advise that they capture all the data they can because you’ll never know what you might be able to use. Companies never have too much data.
I also suggest reaching outside their company for data expertise. The challenge for many companies is figuring out whether they can collect the data they need and make use of it on their own. They may need outside help from a service provider with data scientists on staff. Data scientists are extremely difficult to come by, and they’re a very expensive resource. A service provider with a couple of data scientists on their staff can save the customer from having to hire one on staff.
Also read: The Data Experience & Hybrid Cloud Computing
The service provider value prop in a data-driven economy
Matt: What are the benefits of using a service provider?
Chris: One benefit is the reduction in capital costs. Using a service provider lets a company put more of the cost of the project into operating expenses. It’s a subscription so you pay by the drink. Without a service provider, when you stand up a new big-data project, you’ll have to commit to a big investment in data center infrastructure and staff. You’ll have to do that before you even know if the project will produce any real value. Sometimes they don’t. So instead of having to financially justify large cost outlays, you can leverage a service provider like TierPoint, run the project for a month or so, and get some business insights and value out of it. Using a service provider will let you be cash flow positive from the start.
Another benefit you get from a service provider is their experience. A provider who’s done these projects will know all of the gotchas. If you have an initiative coming up and you’re not sure of the outcome, reach out to a service provider. They will tell you if it’s a good or bad idea. There’s a ton of value in having access to that expertise and the multitude of resources they have to guide you.
How IT department should approach the data-driven economy
Matt: How about companies that already have a data center and IT staff? Should they handle a data project in-house, or outsource it?
Chris: I always encourage people to reach out for help, whether that’s to a service provider or your storage vendor, or someone else. A lot of customers tell me they already have a data center, so they don’t really need a managed service provider. But a managed services provider can handle all kinds of issues, from colocation to cloud storage to full managed services. If you’re thinking of going on a journey, give serious thought to leveraging providers who can help you free up internal resources, which can then be focused on your core business issues.
Besides providing expertise, a service provider can take on lower-value tasks that will otherwise waste your staff’s time. For instance, do you really need to pay an internal storage engineer to turn knobs and dials and tweak things all day long? Wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to let an outside provider handle that so your storage engineer work on minimizing storage costs and optimizing my storage space and storage ROI?
How is your business managing data in a data-driven world?
Watch my full interview with Chris to learn more about how businesses are approaching the data-driven economy. Want to learn how your business can take advantage of massive data growth? TierPoint and Pure Storage teamed together to provide solutions that can help you. Contact us to learn more.