Owen Taraniuk, Vice President, Asia Pacific and Japan, Commvault
Today’s CIOs should look to expand their strategic goals beyond the relentless focus on cost control and risk reduction in order to become a driving force in their organisation’s business innovation.
CIOs are expected more than ever to lead business transformation whilst leveraging cloud, mobility applications, big data initiatives and ensuring that the broader business is ready to embrace or even drive the next wave of disruption within their industries. However, with all the talk of new wave technologies, achieving the right business outcomes is ultimately about getting the data right. This means extracting value from disparate data sources and delivering it in a secure, timely and consistent fashion.
Increasingly we are hearing from our customers that yes, they want us to help them protect their data, but how can we also help them activate that data to innovate within their business and drive high value outcomes. The traditional role of the CIO is extending far more into a driving force for the business through modernisation and transformation, as opposed to just cost control and risk reduction. So the question around all of these new technologies – cloud, hyper-converged infrastructure, big data, etc. – is, how do we architect data management frameworks that release value to the organisation?
The Hybrid Environment – it is all about Data Portability
The data environment that most CIOs work with today has dramatically changed, and is now a complex world of hybrid private and public cloud services, multiple hypervisor solutions, a growing number of applications, and a myriad of new devices, including BYOD. Increasingly, workloads are managed by external services and organisations, as well as user subscribed SaaS point solutions. Efforts to manage and protect information across all of these infrastructures is increasingly restricted by data volumes, compliance requirements and a surge in the number of sources from which information is being generated. Utilising and presenting this same information in a unified way is even harder. This pressure will increase exponentially with the Internet of Things and budgets will not grow in line.
"Customers are finding that getting data management right is crucial to gain a single view of information in a consistent form."
The pressures around data growth are getting to a point where IT teams spend the majority of their time ‘keeping the lights on’. Just managing existing legacy infrastructure is a huge demand on resources. This is hindering many organisations’ abilities to embark on transformation initiatives in using data as a strategic business asset. Customers are finding that getting data management right is crucial to gain a single view of information in a consistent form at where cost is automatically optimised and storage is easily scalable. When done right, the savings that can be made in optimising data management are opening opportunities to fund complex innovation.
To enable this, data portability and ease of access is the key, as is the ability to view combinations of complex and disparate data sets. We need to be able to move data freely across these environments. For example, moving information from on-premise to cloud, and then into a Hadoop cluster for a big data initiative, whilst still ensuring the data is protected, recoverable and under the appropriate retention policy. This in the past has been a major challenge for organisations, particularly those with data residing across several storage vendors, multiple applications and core systems. However, the days of vendor lock in are over. We should no longer be fearful of losing access to information if we are looking at making a switch, particularly in adopting new technologies, alternative cloud services or decommissioning legacy applications.
In order to compete and innovate today, CIOs must be focused first on infrastructure modernisation, and that’s only possible through environments that truly support flexibility, choice and openness. Many of us want to continue our journey to the cloud, however we need to remove limitations and ensure our cloud environments can operate as seamless extensions of the data centre. With the growth in information that we are all facing, the management of data needs to be able to scale at the speed, simplicity and cost point that suits our business. Only when we get that right, can we truly be ready to embrace disruptive technology and invest in big data initiatives to transform business through information value.