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The Acceleration of the Move to the Cloud - What’s Next for Data Strategy?

The migration to the cloud has accelerated considerably since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysts at IDC predicted that by the end of 2021, 80% of enterprises will have moved from on-premise data centers to cloud service providers and platforms. That’s because the cloud provides huge benefits, especially for a remote- and distributed workforce, and the means to scale and future-proof businesses in an environment of massive change. Moving to the cloud isn’t an option anymore –it’s essential – but it also introduces a whole new set of challenges and opportunities from a data strategy perspective.

So, what’s next for enterprises looking to make the most of their organization’s data in this cloud-first landscape?

Adapting to the new normal. Disrupting the old normal.

IDC expects the volume of data that businesses generate to grow by 61%, and to 175 zettabytes by 2025. Traditional on-premises IT architectures don’t have the capacity or processing power to handle such vast amounts. Organizations need a more agile way to access their data, adapt to unforeseen situations and give themselves room to grow, which is part of the cloud’s appeal.

The cloud has also proven itself as a far better platform from which to collaborate, especially as COVID amplified disruptions in the way we live and work. For instance, more remote work has increased the use of collaboration tools like Slack or Zoom that run on cloud providers like AWS and Oracle. Or consider how much easier it is to work with colleagues on the same cloud-native documents in Google Workplace rather than sending documents in Word, PowerPoint, or Excel back and forth on email.

Again, as more services have gone online, accumulating more data, access to that data has become even more important to ensure that organizations effectively operate and serve their customers. The cloud enables businesses to work faster, and do more, with more data. Moving to the cloud has become a way of staying ahead of the competition, and for many businesses, a means of survival - but all this accessible data does require a different approach.

The power to get more from your data.

The most impactful driver of migration to the cloud is the way cloud technology increases the value organizations get from their data. The huge capacity, power and flexibility of cloud services enables you to gather, manage and analyze huge amounts, and types of data that were previously difficult or impossible to access, thereby delivering better insights to drive decision-making.

The increasing volume of data derives from an ever-growing array of sources. There’s structured data found in databases such as spreadsheets and SQL databases. There’s unstructured data, like text, email, images, audio, video, sensors, and more. It’s estimated that by 2025,  80% of data will be unstructured. Until the rise of the cloud, this data was often too heavy, complex, and varied to store and analyze. Now, the cloud can handle it. It offers enormous opportunities to add value to business by enabling them to get intelligence from this huge, often untapped mass of data.

AWS, for example, provides users with high performance cloud data systems and comprehensive cloud data management and analytics services. They enable organizations to modernize their data architectures and create new business value. Combined with the power of a growing number of data/analytics platforms available today, organizations can manage and analyze the vast array of data generated and stored across all of AWS’ suite of cloud services and deliver insights that benefit every user and every team.

Embedded analytics to meet the promise of the cloud.

Just because more data is available via the cloud does not mean that everyone across an organization is constantly extracting value from it. In fact, analytic adoption is still relatively low - especially for lines of business outside of IT - and this data overload brought on by the cloud may only intimidate and deter them from attempting to get started. Too much data means too many possible insights and it can be hard to know where to begin.

But breaking down this analytic adoption barrier is critical for organizations looking to become truly data driven. That’s why the most innovative organizations are starting to take advantage of embedded analytics that provide insights to business users where they are already spending their time (traditionally, they would need to leave their workflow and analyze a dashboard to attempt a data-driven decision). Now, embedded analytics technology can infuse actionable insights directly in the collaboration apps people are already using without disrupting any workflow.

A user might type in a question to Slack, for example, and the embedded analytics (fueled by ML/AI) can deliver the answer immediately within the Slack interface. In this case, extracting value from all that business data becomes easy, or even mindless, without disrupting the usual workflow. No more intimidation, just immediate insights that can drive impactful business decisions - and better yet, all cloud-based.

Moving to the cloud is a compelling proposition with game-changing potential, which is why so many enterprises will make the shift by the end of the year. But all that accessible data brought on by the cloud will not guarantee a data-driven enterprise on its own. Combining the cloud with data strategies that encourage analytic adoption across the organization, such as leveraging embedded analytics, is what will truly send your organization into the stratosphere.

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Tags: dsc_cloud, dsc_cxo

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