Why Adopting the Right Unstructured Data Management Strategy Is Critical

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Read more about author Michael Jack.

While many sectors have been under severe economic pressure in the past couple of years, the post-pandemic economy is offering significant opportunities for growth. However, many businesses must also currently contend with record domestic and global labor shortages, supply chain problems, and other challenging external constraints. As a result, enterprises everywhere are under intense pressure to deliver digital-led improvements, and according to IDC, “Digital transformation (DX) is underway among 90% of enterprises globally.” 

This unstoppable wave of modernization is seen by many as the only pathway to greater efficiency, automation, and profitability. As these businesses embed technology more deeply into their processes, they are also looking to exploit the power of data to both understand their markets and customers better and to inform their decision-making at every level.

This file and object data is being collected in huge volumes, and as IDC puts it: “More data than ever before is being captured, stored, protected, and analyzed. Over the next five years, 80% of that data will be unstructured.”

The key to the process, therefore, is a Data Management strategy that allows organizations to release the value contained in their unstructured data. The first and most critical component is to ensure data can be moved to the most appropriate environment from a management, capabilities, security, protection, and budgetary standpoint. 

However, this is easier said than done. This isn’t simple because the scale and complexity of unstructured data in today’s heterogeneous storage environments have proven to be quite a challenge for organizations. As a result, it’s important that organizations carefully consider their Data Management requirements. 

Fit for Purpose?

Across many contemporary data centers, organizations try to facilitate data-centric strategies using technology infrastructure and solutions that simply can’t offer the levels of insight and control required. The result can be that businesses have extremely valuable data siloed within a variety of traditional on-premises and outsourced storage technologies. This can limit data mobility, which is essential to businesses that need to access and action their data assets. 

In other situations, organizations look to overcome these problems with a hybrid approach using multiple vendors to facilitate the data mobility they need. While this can prove effective to an extent, the problem many organizations find is that many of today’s popular data storage solutions aren’t built to deliver the seamless access, extraction, and management capabilities required for effective data mobility.

In effect, these organizations also find themselves back at square one because they can’t understand or manage their unstructured file and object data. Instead, they must pursue digital transformation strategies against the backdrop of unrestricted, unstructured data silos that fail to support wider business objectives.

Instead, IT and data teams should be focusing on building practical solutions that allow them to mobilize their data assets in the most appropriate location. Armed with the flexibility to reorganize and move it around as and when they require, they should also remember to build in data protection, archiving functionality, and data immutability — all while ensuring they remain in compliance with their legal and regulatory obligations.

The Core of a Solid Data Mobility Strategy 

At the heart of an effective approach to data mobility is a management strategy that considers how storage vendors build their systems. In doing so, organizations put themselves in the ideal position to account for the strengths and weaknesses inherent in their infrastructure, including the problems associated with vendor incompatibility. Organizations armed with this information are in a much stronger position not only to categorize and define their unstructured data assets but to move them to the best location within their IT estate to meet business needs.

For instance, effective cloud transformation software should facilitate a range of functions, from analysis and planning, execution, verification, and support. These are important because they allow users to discover, plan, execute, and report on their cloud migration processes to ensure data is always available to those who need it for their DX projects.

For any organization that hopes to compete, survive, and win in today’s demanding and dynamic global economy, having the right unstructured data management strategy is priority number one. The right businesses can avoid poor conclusions, rework, and lost profits and instead, enjoy faster, more accurate decisions that help to drive innovation, create, and maintain competitive advantage, bolster profitability, and boost the bottom line.

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