How do you ensure you prioritise your data management when you’re busy with digital transformation? Follow these five steps to help you put the I before the T.
For many CIOs, it might feel like change management is all their role consists of—particularly as digital transformation becomes an imperative, data management remains key and IT becomes a more strategic function.
Digital transformation—whether it’s a business change, technology change, or even a functional change—needs to be built around your data. It should be built around how you access, control, and secure all the vital information your infrastructure runs on, so you can ensure it’s a truly valuable asset.
But many enterprises struggle with this, for a whole host of different reasons. Some simply don’t have the infrastructure in place to collect and use data efficiently; others might be working in highly fragmented environments that make it difficult to even access the data.
There’s no single definitive way to manage data best—it will always depend on your organisation’s unique infrastructure and objectives. So, how can you create value from your data in a cost-effective, scalable way?
Here are five steps to help you build the right approach to data management on your digital transformation journey:
There are two parts to this: first, you need to know where your useful data is in your infrastructure; second, you need to know which function or person it ‘belongs’ to within your company. Knowing these factors will help you work out how to bring all that information together in a way that’s usable. You won’t use all the data you locate within your business, but you need to know where everything is to make the next stages of the process effective.
Within any enterprise, there will always be more data than you need. Not everything is going to be useful to the business—and you need to be able to identify exactly which datasets are going to matter. Many firms make the mistake of trying to process and use all their data, which only leads to a waste of time and resource as they realise that much of it isn’t actually worth analysing.
You need to ask questions such as:
- What do we want to achieve with our data?
- Is there a specific function or issue we need to target?
- Which objectives are most important?
If you’re working with a managed services provider (MSP), they can help you sort through all your different data sources and identify which ones are likely to yield the most useful insights.
Next, you’ll need to aggregate your priority data into one place. That means deciding how and where you’re going to store all this information, the best way to connect disparate data sources, and how to manage structured and unstructured data. An MSP will be able to advise on this, to ensure you have all the IT support and infrastructure services in place to consolidate your data effectively.
Once you’ve collected all your data, stratifying it will help you work out which sets need special storage requirements—whether that’s due to the size of the set or compliance needs—and how it should be secured and shared with key stakeholders. Not all data will need the same level of security or access. Some will require stronger security, and some will need to be widely accessible; it’s about balancing risk and cost.
Finally, you need to analyse your data and put the insights you gain to work in your organisation. Think carefully about the best ways to do this—it’s vital you don’t attempt to work with too large a dataset in one go. For many organisations, particularly when they’re starting out with large-scale analytics, the best and most cost-effective way to analyse data is to carve it up into batches. For others, it might make more sense to use a data lake. A good managed services partner will know which approach suits you best, and help you ensure your analytics are producing useful insights that you can put to work in your business.
In the following blogs in this series, we’ll be examining the changes that are happening in business tech and infrastructure, and breaking down some of the key ways a managed services partner can help CIOs like you navigate these challenges with hands-on IT infrastructure services.
To learn more about how a managed services provider can make a difference for CIOs, and whether your business is ready to work with one, read our ebook, Are you ready to work with an MSP?, now.