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Better together: how clever collaboration holds the key to making the most of data

(Image credit: Image Credit: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock)

In today’s fast-moving world, businesses across industries are realising the power of partnerships to gain technical expertise and scale quickly to keep up with their market. This is especially true for areas already undergoing radical disruption. Take autonomous driving for example – Toyota realised that attempting to tackle such an ambitious cross section of their industry alone would slow much-needed progress, and so announced a major partnership with Uber to develop autonomous vehicle software.

For those on the outside looking in, this partnership made perfect sense. Uber’s highly fashionable status as a disrupter, combined with Toyota’s long-held reputation for innovation will make for highly exciting results. However, equally beneficial collaborations can emerge from more seemingly unexpected places.

Hewlett Packard and Disney’s partnership is another important one that goes back 66 years. Despite coming from entirely different industries, their partnership has enabled continuous, mutually-beneficial results from both sides. For instance, Disney’s guest PhotoPass service in Florida is comprised of custom software architecture and systems which have all been designed and managed by Hewlett Packard Enterprise. At Disney’s Epcot, the Mission: SPACE ride is the result of a collaboration between Hewlett Packard, NASA and Disney.

A fundamental recipe

For many software companies, the value of partnerships has yet to be truly appreciated. The traditional view from these businesses has been that their perceived value comes from their software offerings. We have consequently seen them repeatedly try to go it alone to create locked-down, closed products.

It’s an approach that’s sorely outdated and cannot last. Increasingly, many IT professionals are looking for a certain level of openness from vendors, even when they are looking at software that is fundamentally proprietary. In our hyper-networked age, software can only truly exist through partnerships between vendors. In modern IT environments, only a marriage of storage, computing power, networking and applications can get the job done. Working together is the fundamental recipe for success.

Modern software demands interoperability (the ability to exchange and work with data from other software), as well as portability (being able to run in more than one environment or operating system). Both must come from a place that looks larger than just token gestures from advertising and marketing departments.

Partnerships enable collaborators to draw on each other’s expertise, access wider markets and develop more integrated products and services.

Collaborations also crucially offer the ability to develop more closely-oriented solutions for customer needs. In the technology space, one of the most urgent needs is being able to access the full value of data.

A blessing and a curse

Data is immensely valuable for every business. It’s a critical source of actionable business insights. It empowers everything from understanding customers and what they want, to anticipating trends and putting a business in the best possible position to capitalise on them.

Businesses face a huge challenge, however, when it comes to extracting value from their data. Not only do they have to embrace the sheer volume of the data they already collected, which is growing all the time. They also must deal with the fact that it can be scattered across a whole range of databases, cloud providers and on-premise stores.

Data being spread across the whole enterprise in this way makes it much more difficult to ensure its availability for everyone in the business. This is an extremely pressing issue, as failure to address it adequately can spell lost insights and critical signals needed to make key business decisions. But it’s a challenge that can be addressed through the power of partnerships.

Single-platform data availability

Software providers can deliver exceptional data availability for their customers by working together to create a strong digital ecosystem. That means the providers of both cloud and on-premise solutions coming together to offer a single platform for customers.

By developing close relationships with partners, data management platforms can provide hypervisor integration, storage integration and interfaces with critical applications, such as Microsoft 365, all in one place.

At Veeam, we recently expanded our collaboration with Cisco to deliver Veeam Availability on Cisco HyperFlex – a highly resilient data management platform that provides seamless scalability and support for multi-cloud environments through Cisco support services.

Doing this enables data to be readily available for customers in a highly convenient way, no matter where it’s stored in the enterprise, or which endpoints or devices they wish to use to access it. CIOs can gain a view of their organisation’s entire IT infrastructure, which helps improve operational efficiency and outcomes. Managed service providers also enjoy advantages too, as they gain management capabilities across disparate providers.

Although no one company can deliver comprehensive data availability alone, collaboration behind the scenes means the services for customers can do exactly that.

Conquering vendor lock-in with APIs

The ‘hyper-sprawl’ of data today means that organisations not only face a headache when it comes to accessing their data. They have to ensure that all data is recoverable, in the event of unforeseen events like outages, human error, cyberattack or theft.

Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud computing environments present a particularly tricky data protection challenge. While cloud vendors offer their own backup snapshotting and high-availability solutions, for instance, they all require that system administrators learn and understand vendor-specific services.

Again, this is another area where partnerships between software providers can help. Hardware and software providers can leverage application programming interfaces (APIs) to give customers the integration they need.

Businesses can then benefit from a single management solution for their data protection, no matter how many providers they use. In essence, this streamlines backup workflows – and creates much stronger data compliance and protection across the business.

Rising to the challenge

Data can be both a great opportunity and highly daunting challenge for enterprises. More often than not, the lines between the two blur and businesses find themselves somewhere in the middle. No standalone provider has all the answers to guaranteeing data availability and protection to make the most of its potential. However, thanks to the power of partnerships, that goal can quickly become an achievable reality.

Greg Bailey, Head of Channel and Cloud, UK & Ireland, Veeam (opens in new tab)
Image Credit: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

With over 25 years’ experience in the project management sector, Greg Bailey is Vice President Resource Management at ProSymmetry. He writes about tech trends, with a focus on resource management.