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Businesses will need to be more data savvy in 2020 to reap rewards of Big Data

(Image credit: Image Credit: Pitney Bowes Software)

The world has seen a massive explosion in Big Data, with large volumes of data now being stored across businesses in the UK. With the proliferation of digital devices, the increasing expansion of online shopping, and the ongoing trend for connected devices across both consumer and commercial applications, it is no surprise that a recent report in Forbes estimated that 90 per cent of the world’s data was created in just the last two years. 

Added to this is of course is the ability for transactional systems to capture data that is refreshed at ever increasing rates with no signs of it slowing down. It is no surprise therefore that it is now commonplace for organisations to have data lakes in excess of 100TB . And whilst the appreciation of the value of data is now being recognised, largely from a marketing perspective – allowing us to gain insights, improve the customer experience and to support product or service innovation – the ensuing struggle is what should be kept in a bid to maintain financial efficiency across the data network, as data storage costs spiral and become more complex.

Increasingly, unnecessary data hoarding – where businesses are retaining huge volumes of data for all the reasons previously mentioned - is what is feeding these lakes of data, which in turn is costing organisations excessive amounts to store and retain.  Whilst there is a necessity to retain historical data for legal and regulatory compliance, plus data for mining and analysing - the cost to store large levels of data can easily escalate – despite migration to the cloud or hybrid cloud environments.  Coupled with this is the danger that holding this amount of data means for security.  Data breaches are all too commonplace in this day and age, and for businesses retaining large levels of unstructured or invisible data the risks they are exposing themselves to increases.  2019 in fact has been the worst year for data breach activity, according to Cyber Risk Analytics mid-year review – with data breaches up by 54 per cent on 2019.  With this in mind, managing data more efficiently ensures not only regulatory compliance and financial prudence, but improves your data breach risk.

Despite the risks associated with the huge levels of data organisations are holding onto, many businesses lack the skills needed to manage their data environments, and with a lack of data archiving strategy, or a data gatekeeper - the vast amount of data sitting on spinning discs will continue to explode, and so will the cost.

Here’s our top 3 tips to get on top of your data in 2020:

  • Create a data team. Create an internal team that will take ownership and create a strategy for your data that will allow it to work for you.  A team of data savvy staff, that knows the in’s and out’s of your business, aligning with business objectives is crucial. Adding existing knowledge of processes and key personnel will ensure a good outcome.
  • Build in automated processes in your data strategy - with strong AI fundamentals that have solid rules at the outset to ensure the time efficiencies will continue to be maintained across data collection. Essentially govern the archiving process, and ensure whilst remaining compliant you achieve data storage nirvana.
  • Build in automated processes in your data strategy - with strong AI fundamentals that have solid rules at the outset to ensure the time efficiencies will continue to be maintained across data collection. Essentially govern the archiving process, and ensure whilst remaining compliant you achieve data storage nirvana.
  • Be wary of Dark Data. Dark data can appear in structured and unstructured data, it’s rather like an iceberg that we can see the floating top of but have no idea of what’s sitting underneath it, below the surface.  This type of data can grow exponentially year on year and continues to be a challenge for the CIO (Chief Information Officer) because of the amount of data having to be stored for regulatory purposes.  Storing this type of data incurs a lot of expense and sometimes risk, than the value extracted from it. To overcome this, automation and archiving efficiencies at the outset will only allow the data required to be stored.

Big Data is indeed a powerful tool, but unless we put in place some corporate governance around the cost of managing and maintaining it, then the financial costs to keep it will outweigh the value that sits within it.  As businesses continue to be more data savvy, there will be a need to maintain and automate the archiving process to reap the financial rewards of Big Data.

Nick Parkin, Proceed Group