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Digital transformation planning bumps into data management issues

As businesses look to increasingly digitize their information, data management and data access are top concerns, according to a recent survey.

“You can’t be a digital business if you don’t have your arms around data,” said Bill Wohl, chief communications officer at Commvault, which produced the survey in partnership with Quadrant Strategies.

Two-thirds of respondents estimated that their company has access to half of its data or less, according to the survey of 1,200 IT executives and personnel in Europe, Asia and North America. Wohl said that lack of access stood out and is a hindrance to digital transformation planning.

Fifty-one percent of IT executives and personnel said “better data collection and management” is essential to their company’s success over the next few years, according to the survey. Forty-nine percent said “new tools to analyze increasingly sophisticated data” is essential.

Ransomware, GDPR increase data management urgency

The rise in ransomware is moving data management planning to the front of the line.

“We’ve moved from a period where the risk of an attack is a question. It’s going to happen,” Wohl said. “It requires a determined effort on the part of IT management.”

Only 31% of IT executives and personnel said their company is well-prepared for ransomware, according to the survey. Thirty-four percent said they are ready for “a project that involves bringing together all the company’s data.”

Getting data under common management, which helps recovery from ransomware, is one of Wohl’s recommendations for digital transformation planning. Though the transformation process can seem overwhelming, bringing disparate data sets under common management — so an organization has a complete picture of the business — is an important first step.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which goes into effect in May, is also propelling data management to the forefront. Forty-seven percent of IT executives and personnel said their company is well-prepared for implementation of GDPR.

How to get ahead with your data

Wohl also suggested narrowing the focus of IT and decreasing the number of vendors used. A typical organization may have multiple backup processes in place, for example.

Automating data management is another important step in digital transformation planning. Automation and vendor consolidation frees up staff time for more forward-looking work in advancement and innovation.

Wohl pointed to insurance and investment firm Great-West Financial as an example of an organization undergoing a successful digital transformation. As part of its digital transformation planning, the company is moving away from old business models, having customers interact more on the internet and through mobile devices versus the paperwork so historically prevalent in the industry.

According to the survey, though, IT executives and personnel are more focused on day-to-day operations than innovation. Forty-nine percent of IT executives said running the company network is a high priority, while 34% said understanding and preparing for innovation in the industry is a top concern.

And IT executives are more confident than other personnel that their departments are ready for digital transformation planning. For example, 41% of executives said they are comfortable their IT department can successfully understand and prepare for innovation in the industry, while 29% of personnel said the same. Thirty-nine percent of executives said IT can successfully use data science for big data analytics, while 29% of personnel said the same.

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