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Syntax 2021 Predictions: Why Data Management Should Top Your List of 2021 IT Priorities

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

Why Data Management Should Top Your List of 2021 IT Priorities

By Marc Caruso, chief architect, Syntax

People often say we live in a data-driven world. While I agree in principle with this statement, it amazes me how much room for improvement most organizations have in how they manage this data. For all of the advances we've achieved in the speed and ease of use in data storage and analysis solutions, underinvestment in information lifecycle management, master data management, and data governance all continue to negatively impact quality, cost, and time-to-decision.  

The amount of information organizations collect grows every day. But for this data to drive action, overall data storage practices must improve. At Syntax, we're seeing organizations increasingly realize the impact of inefficiencies caused by their outdated data management practices. To address these issues in a timely fashion, organizations are turning to cloud-based data management and analytics solutions. In 2021, expect to see a greater rate of adoption as businesses move to platforms that provide a breadth of capability, can be rapidly implemented, and are cost-effective.

Accelerated IT transformation demands better information organization 

The shift to remote work due to the coronavirus forced years-long digital transformation efforts to occur in a matter of weeks, fueling the need for improved data management solutions and processes. Most IT efforts in 2020 consisted of rapid adoption and implementation to address new working conditions. 2021 will push IT and business leaders to refine these solutions - considering how the digital technologies they've undertaken can help drive overall business strategy.

Smarter organization and usage of data will be foundational to these efforts.  

Currently, the majority (70%) of time business leaders spend with data involves simply determining what's relevant, while significantly less time is spent on analysis. More tools than ever before are available to help decision-makers ascend from descriptive to prescriptive analytics, but this misplaced focus limits their effectiveness. These inefficiencies add up over time and have real consequences. On average, organizations lose over $2 million a year due to challenges managing their data. That money could be better spent on proactive efforts to ensure data is high quality and organized from the start. For example, that money could fund the annual salaries of several database administrators, data scientists, or data analysts.

Effective data management increases operational efficiency while also providing better business intelligence and data governance. It also helps companies avoid data breaches, data privacy issues, and regulatory compliance problems, which can be costly to your bottom line and reputation. On average, data privacy compliance costs an enterprise $5.47 million, while the cost of non-compliance is nearly triple that. 

Investment in data management is growing 

In a digital-first world, data volumes and sources are multiplying exponentially. Investing in efforts to properly input, store, organize, and maintain information is non-negotiable. And solutions are quickly evolving to meet the needs of all types and sizes of organizations across industries. The global enterprise data management market is expected to experience a compound annual growth of 10.2% year over year, reaching $133.4 billion by 2026.

The level of connectivity, data growth, and analytics required for success in a modern organization can no longer be achieved by isolated efforts alone. To meet optimal operational efficiency and more effectively respond to business needs, organizations are migrating more IT infrastructure from on-premises data centers to cloud providers that offer low-cost and feature-rich Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions. According to the 2020 State of the Cloud Report, 93% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy - so it's crucial to make sure your organization isn't left behind.

PaaS offers a convenient, flexible and low-cost solution

PaaS solutions offer an easy, cost-effective path to manage applications and data without the burden of building and maintaining the infrastructure or installing and maintaining the software. By bundling these solutions with traditional Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings and leveraging the robust APIs provided by cloud vendors, organizations are able to shift their investment dollars into value-added activities that drive business decisions.

Based on the benefits provided by migrating to a purpose-built, controlled environment, PaaS solutions will continue to grow over the next few years: Gartner estimates that PaaS-based revenues will increase 26.6% in 2021. Hyperscale companies such as Oracle, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft are pushing PaaS heavily as they vie for market share, offering new capabilities and expanded features of their data management solutions.

The popularity of PaaS comes from its convenience, flexibility, and low cost. PaaS simplifies data management, providing integrated solutions for storing and analyzing all different types of structured and unstructured data for custom applications, packaged on-premises applications, and SaaS solutions. In contrast with on-premises solutions, PaaS offers developers a wealth of pre-built services at their fingertips without having to install software and verify compatibility.  This ability significantly improves time-to-deliver and minimizes low-value quality assurance tasks. Seventy-two percent of chief information officers (CIOs) report that PaaS services improved their use of data and analytics.

Additionally, businesses benefit from the machine learning capabilities built into many PaaS platforms, including self-healing and self-managing features. These capabilities reduce the administrative burden on technical staff, allowing them to focus on more value-adding activities. Engineered capabilities like high availability, automated disaster recovery and automated scalability offer improvements to user experience and better Service Level Agreements (SLAs). And because PaaS data services are typically priced according to stored and/or processed data volumes, it's easy for any organization to adopt and scale as needed.

Of course, there are some drawbacks to using a PaaS solution. Some PaaS vendors impose limitations on functionality, restricting the direct control organizations have over their environments. This is typically only an issue for non-native PaaS solutions, and is usually not an issue for most organizations. And while many cloud providers have automated menial tasks previously performed by database administrators, ETL developers and the like, those roles are still needed to integrate with application teams and drive efficiencies in performance, availability, and security.

Remote work fueling a digital-first and data-driven reality

Though the news of coronavirus vaccine distribution makes the return to in-person work more promising, remote work is here to stay - at least in some capacity. A digital-first, dispersed approach to work presents exciting new possibilities for improvements in organizations' efficiency and agility.

To take full advantage of the technology investments organizations made during the pandemic, data management must be a top priority for IT decision-makers in 2021. Driven by remote workers' need for high-performing, easily accessible, and scalable solutions, PaaS data management offerings will account for a greater portion of cloud spending. It is critical that organizations invest not only in those solutions, but also the processes and people that help them run efficiently.

A data-driven reality is closer than ever before thanks to a growing appetite for investments in modern data management solutions. After a year of turmoil, improved data management practices will allow organizations to be more agile, cost effective, and secure. This will drive overall business performance and growth in our data-driven world.


About the Author

Marc Caruso 

Marc Caruso joined Syntax as Chief Architect in September 2020. He holds 25 years of experience in ERP, database, application and data integration management and brings a wide range of expertise to the growing Syntax team. In this role, Marc is responsible for architecting Syntax solutions in the public and private clouds and for driving future innovation to support Syntax customers as they strategically navigate their global businesses through an ever-evolving cloud landscape. Before Syntax, Marc was Chief Technology Officer at IT service management company, Data Intensity, where he pioneered several virtualization, cloud and automation solutions for mission-critical Oracle applications and databases. In this role, he helped hundreds of customers develop digital transformation strategies that leverage existing and new technologies, and developed a passion for working with customers to architect high-performing, highly available, flexible and secure solutions that help them get the most out of their enterprise technology investments.

Published Tuesday, January 26, 2021 7:49 AM by David Marshall
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