Fully leveraging your data is no longer an option—it’s a mandate. Organizations that successfully eliminate silos and harness the power of their data are in the best position to differentiate their solutions and deliver data-driven employee and customer experiences—especially in today’s environment, shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Frankly, data-driven organizations are not merely in the best position to compete and differentiate—they are in the only position that is viable now and into the future. Your data is your business and the key to delivering rich, personalized, intelligence-powered experiences in the digital world.
The pandemic has been a great accelerator of business and technology innovation. It’s driving the rapid shift to remote work and workplace transformation, forcing modernization of digital supply chains and pushing more people and businesses to rely on online experiences for shopping, learning, telehealth and a broad range of other services and activities.
These monumental changes have put new pressures on businesses that can be addressed only by effective data and storage management—specifically, the ability to access data from everywhere and deliver data services anywhere: across clouds, in the data center and at every edge location.
Here are some key questions organizations should consider when it comes to maximizing the value of their data.
Why focus on delivering data services everywhere?
Connectivity is ubiquitous, analytics are increasingly intelligent, and data growth is exploding at exponential levels—coming from new sources in entirely new ways. While the cloud has made it easier to manage and leverage data, it has created new challenges and complexity. This includes the potential for new silos, preventing effective, organization-wide use of data and analytics. The rise of edge computing creates similar risks.
With a common data platform, you can deliver data as a service, wherever, whenever and however it is needed. From a business standpoint, this allows you to create differentiated experiences for customers and employees; support cloud-native development to accelerate speed to market; adapt with cloud scale and agility to changing market conditions; create new business opportunities based on real-world data and analytics; and strengthen overall business agility, resiliency and security.
What does it take to deliver data services everywhere?
You want to manage unified data sets centrally and strategically, without being limited by where the data physically resides. This requires an architecture of systems, software and services to connect and manage data as a single, connected, consistent experience. Data flow needs to be rapidly orchestrated to and from all locations to create the technology-as-a-service model associated with cloud computing. Ideally, the data and the service can live in the cloud, or just seem as though they do to the user, providing a seamless experience regardless of where the user or data is located.
What are some of the key characteristics of a successful implementation?
To gain the full business value from your data, you must continually modernize infrastructure without disruption to the business. This requires an architectural model that builds adaptability, redundancy and compliance into cloud storage. You want to avoid vendor lock-in, protect competitive advantage, secure data and reduce cost—all while allowing your IT teams to focus less on administration and more on innovation.
What are some of the organizational and operational steps to take?
CIOs and IT teams have an opportunity to redefine themselves as data services providers focused on enabling the business to deliver on strategic initiatives through access to data and analytics. Operationalizing this can mean:
- Gathering as many requirements as possible about workloads and applications—thereby assuming ownership of the entire solution path from storage to cloud to edge. This includes data creation, processing and protection, as well as hybrid cloud integration and lifecycle management. Storage becomes a means to an end, with the end being ubiquitous data services.
- Working with business leaders to create new business-oriented data catalogues that assign business value to all of the organization’s data. This data catalogue can then be used to map information supply chains and curate the inventory of information assets, whether structured or unstructured or internally generated or externally sourced.
- Proceeding quickly, strategically and nondisruptively while avoiding the impulse to change everything at once. Instead, make decisions based on a model of rapid return on investment when you are selecting workloads to modernize and prioritizing quick, high-impact wins. Use this to build momentum and support internally.
How does NetApp fit in?
NetApp has nearly 30 years of experience solving real-world digital storage and data management problems to help organizations get business-visible results from their data. The company has successfully evolved to primarily a software and data services company, as noted by IDC, with cloud solutions designed to meet the needs of “multicloud storage with either full control of the implementation or a simplified, fully managed service for file serving.”1
Whether you are developing in the cloud, operating in a hybrid cloud model or creating a cloud experience on premises, NetApp is the right partner to help you build, connect and manage your data wherever it lives. With innovative solutions such as Cloud Volumes Service and Cloud Volumes ONTAP, plus deep relationships with public cloud partners, NetApp provides a simple, secure and nondisruptive path to delivering data services anywhere, from data center to edge to cloud.
1 “NetApp Makes Rapid Progress on Cloud Data Services,” IDC, 2020