Our systems, networks, and entire environments today are rich with data, yet we are at the very beginning stages of gaining deeper insights from data and unlocking its real value.
IDC forecasts that the global data sphere will grow to 163ZB by 2025. Whether a company is adding sensors to systems and devices in factories, buildings, hospitals, or cities as part of Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives; seeking to improve public safety; or transforming the customer experience through the use of augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) systems in combination with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), the most immediate consequence for IT teams is an explosion in data being generated that must be moved, stored, protected, and analyzed — and then leveraged and capitalized on.
The influx of data presents both a challenge and an opportunity for organizations. Some organizations will flourish and turn the influx of data into competitive differentiation. Others will be overwhelmed in a struggle to collect, cleanse, and protect data and will miss out on opportunities to innovate and improve. IDC studied the behaviors, strategies, and outcomes of organizations to understand factors that contribute to success. By and large, thriving organizations (“Thrivers”) have embraced automation and shifted to data-driven decisions – essentially harnessing data to streamline processes and drive innovation.
Data generation, delivery, concentration, and exploration are transforming how organizations connect with customers, develop new revenue sources, and improve operational efficiencies. The ability to operationalize data, accelerate innovation, and focus on customer engagement and experience is the foundation for capitalizing on this explosion of data. These three strategic priorities are taking precedence in driving the use of emerging technology and the subsequent value organizations reap from their data. Capitalizing on these insights requires a new vision and strategy for datacenter resources that includes the following critical capabilities:
- Volume of data. Data Centers need to collect, cleanse, manage, leverage, and protect the massive data volumes that AI, ML, and deep learning (DL) technologies require. Accomplishing this requires a coordinated data control vision and strategy that enables leveraging very large volumes of data coming from highly diverse and distributed sources.
- Scope and scale of data center resources. The highly diverse and distributed nature of data and supporting compute resources introduces performance, reliability, and security risks in traditional data centers, which modernization and automation can dramatically reduce.
- Localization of compute. The extension of AI/ML/DL to include real-time analysis and rapid response requires a coordinated vision and strategy for deploying high performance, accelerated compute resources and secure data storage in on-premises data centers and edge locations.
- Streamlined resource management. Even the most advanced organizations struggle to rationalize and coordinate information coming from multiple management systems as organizations must reach across traditional silos of expertise. Smarter, modernized datacenters increase operational efficiency and enable the IT organization to respond more quickly to the needs of the business.
Use of Emerging Technologies Requires a New Datacenter Vision
Data underpins all new innovations and emerging technology. IoT is where you collect the data, AI is where you make sense of the data, AR/VR are where you visualize the data, and blockchain is where you ensure trust in the data. All of these emerging technologies require modern IT and datacenters. The ability to prepare for the increased demand on IT staff and resources is a core difference between Thrivers and Survivors, and Thrivers are very different from Survivors in how they invest in and manage their datacenter resources (>60% of Thrivers have made significant investments in datacenter technologies to support emerging technology). Thrivers understand the importance of developing a strategy and vision to control the burgeoning volumes of data and instead realize their data capital. IDC believes that the ability to simplify data management is a key part of Thrivers’ datacenter vision and is exemplified by Thrivers’ increased investment in technologies that streamline and automate processes.
Unlocking the Value of Data
While many IT organizations struggle to simply survive the burgeoning volume of data by focusing on containment and control, leading IT organizations are making investments to turn their data into a wellspring that allows them to thrive in this new digital business landscape. These Thrivers are able to unlock the value of their data through the use of emerging technology and have the following capabilities:
- They can ensure the proper use and custodianship of data about and from their customers.
- They trust their infrastructure to always be available and ready to meet expanding workloads and handle new real-time, data-driven workload requirements.
- They can connect and enhance a myriad of “things” by leveraging AI to drive insights, improve business decisions, and change customer experiences.
Thrivers Recognize the Interconnectedness of Technologies
The most important characteristic of thriving IT organizations (Thrivers) is that they understand the interconnected nature of emerging technologies and are developing expertise that complements their broad efforts to implement them. BDA, IoT, and AI aren’t independent initiatives; rather, each is a multiplier that dramatically improves the benefits gained from the others.
A managed services provider interviewed for this study stressed the close linkage between these technologies: “For our business model, BDA, AI/ML, and IoT are intertwined and there was no way to embrace one without embracing all three …. Our ability to focus on analytics had to grow exponentially, and we’re using machine learning to correlate patterns that define action or response stacks to us and embedding it in a service offering and our core processes.” This approach also holds true with planned use of newer technologies such as AR/VR or blockchain, which Thrivers expect will further enhance benefits by improving experiences, altering behaviors, and enhancing trust.
Why It’s Good To Be a Thriver
Organizations that are more advanced in their adoption and use of emerging technologies are achieving significant and demonstrable positive results for business outcomes and operational cost reduction. Stated simply, enterprises that move with the purpose to adopt emerging technologies and modernize their data centers in support of business and operational use cases outperform those that do not. Both survey results and in-depth interviews confirm this conclusion.
Thrivers are able to capture 34% additional revenue — a significant impact for organizations. On average, Thrivers are achieving >2x higher profitability gains over Survivors. Following are examples of areas where additional revenue and profit are gained:
- Winning new business contributes to 13% higher revenue.
- Protecting existing business contributes to 15% higher revenue.
- Reducing losses associated with unplanned downtime contributes to 6% higher revenue.