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Making data work for you: how an increase in data can equal an increase in revenue

(Image credit: Future)

Regardless of the industry or sector, there is one common factor that is becoming increasingly critical: data. This could be the data from your customers, from your employees, or from the technology that you are currently developing. Data is everywhere, and whether businesses are ready for it or not, it needs to be managed. The ability to manage data efficiently is the key to unlocking its value, and so businesses are turning to management tools and solutions to make this often difficult task easier. In particular, unstructured data is proving to be one of the biggest challenges that businesses face. Without any structure or format, this type of data cannot be solved overnight.

However, businesses are now realising that efficiently managing and extracting value from unstructured data is essential to increasing revenues and visibility, as well as understanding customers' needs. This allows IT to provide a high-quality service without exhausting unnecessary resources – it frees up the time of employees that would typically have to sort through data manually to determine what to do with it. By implementing a data management solution that can help govern this data, businesses can save money in some vital areas.

Using employees effectively

Traditionally, IT teams have had to spend their time managing storage quotas, backup windows and migrating data as their primary storage becomes full, and these time-consuming tasks can prevent experts from focusing their efforts on areas where their expertise is required more. While structured data is usually pretty small and manageable, unstructured data can get pretty large very quickly, making it much more challenging to understand and efficiently manage. It’s because of these features that unstructured data is where the majority of potential revenue increase lies. Having a data management solution that can efficiently scan through huge volumes of data can make the process of identifying cold data much simpler and quicker, both in the first instance and continuously thereafter.

By implementing more effective data analysis solutions, staff are able to work on tasks that rely on the proficiency of a human employee, and so overall the labour costs can be reduced – with fewer employees required to handle the continuous data monitoring, resources can be distributed more efficiently across the company to better meet business objectives.

Part of what makes lowering labour costs easier is monitoring employees’ use of data, anticipating future storage needs and understanding what is being used the most and what could be offloaded to archive storage – for this, you need full visibility.

Creating a clear view

For many teams, increased visibility and analytics are the main benefit of a data management solution, as these are what enable businesses to ultimately increase margins and revenues. As unstructured data footprints are continuously on the rise, the visibility into how data is being used is important to keep costs under control while managing ever increasing pools of data. The bulk of the cost of data is not in its storage but in its active management – businesses typically spend four times more than the storage cost to actively back up and manage data. Given that most of their data becomes inactive within months, this cost overhead becomes overwhelming as data grows. So, finding the cold data across storage is important for IT to efficiently move it away from actively managed storage to the archives. And, giving an easily searchable view across all data is crucial for employees to find the right data they need to gain vital business insights rather than spending time trawling through potentially billions of files on various storage and cloud environments.

A management solution that works in the background, analysing and keeping on top of all the new data that is being created on a continuous cycle, allows a business to make smart decisions about how to manage data in a way that keeps storage and backup costs in check as data grows. By analysing and managing all of your data in one easy-to-use solution, IT teams have the information required to determine where savings can be made through their use of both their employees and their archive storage.

Recognising hot vs cold data

One of the key benefits to data management solutions is how they can enable the data being used within businesses to be streamlined when it comes to storage. Now that the volume of data being generated is increasing exponentially, having sufficient storage and efficient data protection to cope with this influx is crucial. Without it, businesses can struggle to make the most of their data and to find opportunities to save money despite having more data to store than ever before. The challenge that most businesses face is recognising the hot data that needs to be kept active and accessible, and the cold data that can be moved to archive storage because it is being kept as a record but isn’t in use.

But just moving all of your older data files into this storage is not the wisest choice, whether it’s on-premises or in the cloud. Determining which files can be deleted might take time, but overall it brings about greater benefits. It reduces the amount of data needing to be stored at all, and this can be achieved with good data management tools. Less data being stored away means smaller bills at the end of the month, which in turn allows business leaders to invest in more pressing areas of the company, that can ultimately provide better services for existing customers and attract new ones as well.

Unstructured data is becoming a major challenge for businesses as it is spiralling out of IT teams’ control. Add to this the increasing number of storage environments within every business, and it is quickly creating the need for a sophisticated data management solution to keep on top of it all. Having accessible data that has the highest standard of security is crucial for businesses to provide the best possible service for their customers, and therefore is critical to have a solution in place that will deliver the revenue businesses rely on.

Krishna Subramanian, COO, Komprise (opens in new tab)

Krishna Subramanian is the COO at Komprise.