By Han Chung Heng, Senior Vice President, Systems & Alliance, Channels & ISV at Oracle JAPAC
According to Forrester, the key to success in an era of constant change is being adaptive. Rather than focusing on accurately predicting the future years in advance, instead, organisations must be able to pivot as events unfold. As we have seen, many organisations have not found this easy.
What makes it even harder is the increasingly complex and multi-hybrid IT environment that we live in.
The advent of cloud adoption, alongside legacy systems, and a growing application landscape leaves companies with a rigid base, and that locks data – one of the core ingredients underpinning any strategy – into tight silos. As such, business teams do not always find insight available to them to make relevant, contextual decisions in, or close to, real time. As such, they are left relying on “gut feeling,” which generates unclear business outcomes.
So, what’s the answer?
According to a 2020 Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Oracle, Moving the Needle: Data Management for The Multi-Hybrid Age Of IT, “the only way for organizations to move beyond this predicament is to build an effective data management strategy that encompasses the right facets of data unification, security, and governance, all within the multi-hybrid complexity of the IT environment”.
In fact, multi-cloud is becoming increasingly common – with 36 percent of the data being hosted on-premise, 19 percent on a public cloud, and 18 percent on a private cloud. Despite this, most – 64 percent – are grappling with the challenge of managing a multi-hybrid infrastructure. Indeed, only one in two organizations have data preparation and pipelining that works with several stakeholders and only 35 percent of organizations can make data available through managed APIs and quickly generate capabilities for moving it from its stores through into AI and machine learning models.
The survey responses also show that most organizations only have a moderate maturity in terms of data management practices, and unfortunately, moderate is not good enough to optimize the role of data in transforming businesses. And while firms are approaching data management in the right way, simplifying processes, aligning data to business priorities, and establishing frameworks for security and governance, more work is needed. In addition, the intense focus on these areas is blinding them to the opportunity of multi-cloud.
This leaves them missing key ways to reduce costs, diversify – essential for business continuity – and gain the unique capabilities it can provide.
Obviously, there are economic benefits associated with cloud computing, achieving one of the ultimate goals in business continuity; the need to moderate costs and streamline budget to cater more to important operation needs.
This can be further enhanced by vendor selection, given not all clouds are created equal. Certainly, Generation 2 cloud, with its ability to be fully elastic and serverless which means you truly only pay for what you use, is finding popularity amongst a number of users from Zoom and 8×8 to 7-Eleven Philippines (operated by Philippine Seven Corporation), JNE Express (Indonesia) and Forth Smart (Thailand) in the ASEAN region.
Diversification and innovation
A multi-hybrid cloud approach can also add to these benefits and play a pivotal role in a data management strategy. For a start, it helps companies meet surging enterprise demand for multi-layered cloud data management and cross-cloud data analysis.
Take the example of Nomura Research Institute (NRI), Ltd., which is the largest consulting firm and IT solutions provider in Japan. The company has recently adopted Oracle Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer. This is to be built in the customer’s own datacenter, allowing the company to use Oracle Exadata as a cloud service, which matches it’s on premises environment and achieve greater agility, such as seamless expansion, while maintaining high availability at the same level as on-premises.
This hybrid solution enables it to not only provide SOC2 reports based on Japanese security standards in financial industries, but it also allows the company to access broader cloud services and tools provided by Oracle and further increase its business value for their customers. Using Oracle’s Dedicated Region, NRI can also significantly reduce its on-premises costs and invest more in its digital transformation.
The adoption of multi-cloud helps satisfy the need for diversification and gain access to unique capabilities. Indeed, external technology providers play a key role in organizations’ innovation and ability to leverage new technology capabilities (such as machine learning, AI, data virtualization, containerization) to enable new business capabilities for the organization.
It also helps organisations access the multitude of data needed for generating insights and innovation. This is essential as the report particularly shows how the nature of the data collected by these organizations is changing – only a third is structured, with the remainder being a semi structured or unstructured mix of text data, images/video, machine-generated data, streaming data, and more. And these different data types are also typically stored and managed by an array of technologies and platforms, often on different clouds.
Making multi-hybrid cloud an asset for you
So just how should you approach data management in the multi-hybrid cloud era to ensure that you turn it into an asset in the long run? Here are some recommendations from the Forrester study that organizations can adopt right now:
- Assemble the right stakeholders: Bringing together the relevant subject matter experts across all functions and divisions within a business will help understand key requirements and identify ownership across the organization. This prevents and eradicates siloed data strategies, which was reported by the majority of organizations (73 percent) to be an inhibiter of better IT management strategies.
- Perform a needs assessment that aligns business and IT objectives: It’s all in the technical details. With all the right people gathered in one place, the current position of the organization can be ascertained, such as where the data lives and how it flows through the technical architecture. From a technology standpoint, this helps identify any challenges and possible improvement opportunities.
- Building your implementation roadmap: While business imperatives drive change in various functional areas to streamline data access and sharing, the technology architecture enables such change to happen. A secure foundation in technology architectures should be a high priority when creating the roadmap, for example, incorporating elements of zero-trust in the IT ecosystem.
- Prioritizing options to build a holistic data strategy: When shortlisting options, high priority areas such as data governance and privacy have been identified in three out of every four companies, and hence should take precedence in the prioritization process. Solutions that simplify the IT environment are also key for businesses that want to improve business outcomes and leveraging on integrated platforms that can provide a consistent experience in a multi-hybrid-cloud world would be effective in doing so.
In short, modern businesses know that adaptability depends on data, and their digital business strategies depend on effective data management. However, they must now execute this vision in an increasingly complex and multi-hybrid IT environment. Together with these best practices, organisations can emerge as true survivors and not only weather the storm but also open up new possibilities.