How a wedding sparked a data challenge?
Many businesses are a bit like me: They do not have a really clear data strategy.
By Adam Bates | Published 14:22, 28 June 12
As I flew back to London I (unromantically) was struck by how I struggle with all the data that I create and use.
My photos from the holiday (>10,000) were stored on a hard disc; with two backups.
I was carrying a CD from Harry Hookey, a talented singer who happened to be playing at the bush hotel where my new wife and I were staying, although I no longer have a CD player at home.
Most of the trip we were unable to connect to our email accounts as the local carrier did not like our phones. iTunes was reminding me to transfer everything to the iCloud by 30 June (whatever that meant).
When I reached home, I started to use Spotify for streaming music rather than iTunes. It gave me the option to download some of my favourite music from the cloud to the chip in my iPod.
This demonstrated that I continue to create many sets of different data, some stored on various discs and devices with varying degrees of back-up and some out there in different clouds which I have to say I do not understand. I find it really hard to know where different things are, and have to admit it could be controlled a lot better.
Most businesses are in exactly the same position. All are creating more and more data from existing and new devices and systems. Estimates suggest we are doubling the data universe every two years. That perhaps does not sound much, but if you consider the investment needed in storage, processors, cables, switches, systems and the like it is staggering.
Creation is not the problem, like my 10,000 photographs. In my view the real issues are: Storing the right data securely (my top 10 wedding photos are up there). Ensuring the key data is accessible, even when some of it was created on old legacy systems (like Harry Hookey’s CD). And enabling the right people to analyse the data and provide real insight on which to make timely business decisions.
I believe that many businesses are a bit like me. They do not have a really clear data strategy. They drift along adopting new systems and use and store an increasing volume of data in the cloud without really understanding the implications and risks involved. Addressing these points is merely putting things right.
Turning to the positive, the opportunities are huge for those that embrace technologies that drive change. Think of the undeniable impact of cloud-based computing to unleash innovations and streamline business activities. A subscription to the cloud based Spotify means I do not need to buy tracks from iTunes, yet another shift in consumer behaviour.
The still-developing potential of an always-on mobile communications era. I am typing this [on an old fashioned laptop!] down in Canary Wharf listening to my favourite tracks on my iPhone linked to my Spotify account somewhere out there in the cloud.
My question for those who have reached the end: are you satisfied that your organisation has a visionary data strategy?