3 Data Strategy Conversations You Should Be Having in the Boardroom

5 minute read

Artificial intelligence. Machine learning. Connected devices. Undoubtedly, the future of IT Infrastructure design is a data-driven one. Data today is not only growing faster and bigger than ever, it’s also vastly different than it has been in the past. The question is, how are you managing, securing and gathering intelligence from that data?

Data isn’t just changing the IT business, it is business.

With this new digital landscape giving rise to disruptive technology trends, it’s important for company leaders to foster a deeper level of understanding on the intersectionality of IT and business.

Here are the three conversations you should be having in the boardroom to get your data strategy to the next level.

1. Analytics & Adoption

Data science evangelists have long since predicted that the future business growth hinges on the intelligent use of data. Given the fact that data has grown exponentially in volume, executive leaders are increasingly aware of its importance. The most successful companies today are using large bodies of data to identify key insights, ultimately helping them deliver new forms of value.  At each digital touchpoint, customers leave a wealth of knowledge which can be transformed into actionable insight.

In a recent study conducted by the MIT Technology Review, both global business and IT leaders stated that they realize the value of data but have trouble when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) technology adoption.

According to the study:

  • 87% agree that data is the key to delivering better results for clients and customers
  • 87% find that collecting data is important to business growth
  • 83% agree AI will be a game changer in the way we think about and process data
  • 78% agree that digesting, analyzing and interpreting the volume of data is a challenge
  • 79% agree that ensuring their business is using relevant and quality data sources is a challenge

The primary barriers to AI adoption seems to be the costs, infrastructure readiness, and talent resources. Even with these barriers, businesses are making strides to keep up with agile competitors that are using analytics in creative ways.

Companies like American Express, GE and AT&T are utilizing analytics capabilities to not only change the way customers view their business, butalso todeliver on positive business outcomes. According to research firm Mckinsey & Company:

  • American Express has changed the quality of their data, taking an active approach in learning how to extract the right type of data.
  • GE took a proactive approach with data-mining, targeting a specific data set outcome. After selecting an outcome, GE developed a strategy to organize their data set to accomplish their business goal.  
  • AT&T largely uses analytics to map customer experiences. Their big data techniques are geared toward augmenting user experiences to more quickly resolve customer problems.

 2. SEIM & Security Analytics

Forget about Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers, for IT leaders there’s something a lot scarier—a security breach. In a 2018, Insight Intelligent Technology Pulse Survey, over 50 percent of IT decision makers cite security as one of their top three challenges. With the wealth of data within most organizations, the responsibility to protect that data becomes more crucial.

According to the survey, IT decision makers don’t just see security as a challenge to conquer, it’s also an area in which their company could continually improve. In particular, they are focused on data and security; nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents expressed a need for smarter cloud and data center workloads that provide secure data access, processing and management.

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the number of U.S. data breaches tracked in 2017 hit an all-time record of 1,579. This number represents a 44.7 percent increase.  And, if that doesn’t give you pause, here are three cybersecurity prediction to consider:

  • By 2021, cybercrime damage costs will hit $6 trillion
  • From 2017 to 2021 cybersecurity spending will exceed 1 trillion
  • In 2019, ransomware damage costs will rise to $11.5 billion (up from 325 million prediction in 2015)

With the advanced skills of cybercriminals, simple monitoring of traditional security events is no longer enough. Key decision makers should be focused on creating a sound plan to deploy a sophisticated, proactive monitoring system that can identify attacks early enough to prevent sensitive information from being compromised. In addition to traditional security information and event management (SIEM), IT leaders should focus their attention on security analytics. This technology goes beyond SIEM capabilities, enabling security analysts with detailed information in order to respond to attacks before it’s too late.

3. Hybrid Cloud

If you haven’t migrated to cloud, you’re probably asking: Where do I start? If you’ve already migrated to the cloud, you’re probably asking: How can I improve? And if you’re not asking, chances are you unintentionally have hybrid cloud. 

When it comes to fueling digital transformation and IT modernization, cloud computing has quickly become the poster child for modern data efficiency. Key IT decision makers have realized that by creating a hybrid cloud computing environment with a combination of on-premise, private and perhaps third-party cloud services, they can tailor their cloud delivery to achieve varied needs within their organization.

Essentially, cloud technology is shaping the way IT leaders manage their data; in particular, hybrid cloud is taking over in a major way. According to research firm, MarketsandMarkets, the hybrid cloud market in 2021 will grow to $91.74 billion, compared to the $33.28 billion estimates back in 2016.

The beauty of hybrid cloud technology is that it combines a public cloud and a private cloud, allowing data and applications to be shared between them. Organizations are able to transition to the cloud seamlessly, increase flexibility, and reduce both cost and physical footprint.

5 Questions IT Leaders Are Asking about Hybrid Cloud:

  • How can I use it to successfully secure and control data
  • How can it lower costs and cut back on hardware
  • How will it handle capacity changes within the infrastructure
  • How will my team handle potential complexities with management 

Ultimately, organizations are looking to shake up their IT strategy, cutting back on the physical data centers and modernizing in the cloud. By asking these questions, you can develop the hybrid cloud strategy that fits your business needs.

IT Is Driving Business Outcomes

In this data-driven era, if you’re not successfully innovating, protecting or optimizing your data, you’re well behind the curve. IT leaders have the challenging task of supporting businesses from a technical perspective, but also supporting their companies from a monetization standpoint. Optimizing your IT is all about turning ideas into value faster than the competition, and many of these conversations must begin in the boardroom before they can be executed in the organization.

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