No piece of data should be an island

When you think about it, the mere act of aggregating data doesn’t actually provide any real business benefit. Nothing more than a collection of ones and zeros, data by itself can do nothing more than sit in electronic isolation.

This situation only changes once that data is put to work. When it’s readily accessible by software applications, it becomes a powerful resource. When combined with information from other sources, its power can be increased exponentially. That string of ones and zeros can now help businesses innovate and grow. The bottom line? No piece of data should be an island.

The process of transforming data from bits into business value happens in a range of ways. From a hardware perspective, it happens in “digital centres”, the new age of datacentres. Secure storage and reliable access means the data is available as and when it’s required.

From a software perspective, the transformation occurs through the use of database optimisation and analytical tools. Correlations and patterns can be found within data that drive business activity and improve decision making.

The impact of these data-based capabilities is profound. As our ability to put data to work becomes ever more sophisticated, the potential for positive business impact is vast. For example, consider the challenge of customer retention. It’s a big issue for every business but it’s particularly important for financial services organisations. In this sector, the critical factors affecting customer retention include speed, accuracy, and personal relationships.

To achieve effective retention, financial services personnel need fast and efficient access to customer information. They need to be able to fully understand each customer’s relationship with the firm and the interactions they have had in the past.

In some instances, achieving a holistic customer view will mean extracting data from multiple data stores and combining it all in real time. This can be difficult to achieve when that data is sitting in disparate data centres or even in different racks within the same datacentre. Fast and reliable connections are important to ensure these ‘islands’ of data can be combined.

Some might argue that the solution is to pool all data in a single location. But, while that might sound enticing, the practicalities of dealing with legacy systems and dispersed operations make it little more than a pipe dream for most organisations.

Instead, effective cross-connection between different data stores and applications is one of the best ways to provide the information customer service staff need in the timeliest manner. Being able to efficiently and effectively access and analyse data (regardless of its location) will have a dramatic and positive effect on the quality of service delivered.

Ultra-connected and agile data centres are the underlying foundation that supports great customer service. They allow data to be accessed as needed and workloads to be efficiently and effectively deployed as and where needed.

Depending on the requirements of the organisation, data centres can also support initiatives such as public, private and hybrid cloud infrastructures, peering, mobile device deployments and omni-channel contact centres.

Once these value-adding pieces are in place, the humble data bits are able to deliver real business value. Data is no longer an island.

Jihann Pedersen, Marketing Director EMEA, Digital Realty