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  • Mike Dodson

Is Cloud Data a Quick Win for CIOs?

Updated: Nov 17

Many solutions now exist to provide business benefits for exploiting your data in the Cloud.

Enterprises choosing to migrate to the cloud need to be aware of the various prerequisites needed in order to achieve not only a successful migration but also design their cloud architecture in a way that is Cloud Native and able to cater for future workloads and software innovations that the business may wish to employ.


For successful application migration this amounts to a large number of tasks that need to be undertaken. In addition many stakeholders and teams that need to be involved.


CIOs may be asking the question “is there an easier and quicker way to achieve business benefits from digital transformation?” Cloud based Data Management solutions may be the answer.


DATA AS A STRATEGIC ASSET


Data Management has been a corporate concern in large part due to recent data privacy and protection legislation such as GDPR. Most recently, data and analytics is seen as a way to better understand and react quickly to the demands of the new COVID-19 impacted business environment. As a result corporations are seeing data is a strategic asset for competitive advantage to drive the future of their business.


To meet this demand, there is now a vast array of dedicated cloud based data management software providing both analytics solutions and operational data management. So, what is needed to ensure a successful outcome for a data management project?


BUSINESS FIRST


The initial focus is on business issues. A data driven digital transformation project will need strong business sponsorship who will take responsibility for the project. Some work is needed to identify the most valuable use cases and which will be chosen as a priority. Broad areas include AI, ML, Big Data, IOT etc. Then, what is the business case / ROI. The IT organisation will be a key contributor to help in defining the ‘art of the possible’ for the project.


The business sponsor also has an interest in the choice of software functionality. Other aspects of the software specification will need input and direction from the IT Department - critically the decision on architecture: either On Prem; fully Cloud; or a combination (Hybrid). But the CIO will be wholly accountable for the technical design and execution once the key software is chosen.


CAPTURED, STORED AND EXPLORED


So what are the key technical aspects for the CIO to consider? An initial engagement in an assessment that will provide a picture of the relevant data platforms, the data sources, data volumes, security requirements, sovereignty concerns, validity, significance, dependencies there are and so on. Data owners from the business will need to be engaged to ensure data quality considerations are taken into account.

Once an enterprise understands what kind of data it has and extrapolates how it will be used in the future, the task of migrating that data can begin. Whilst databases can be moved to dedicated public clouds or an MSP/Co-Lo solution, this approach is not effectively modernising the organisation's use of data.

If organisations are to embark on such an undertaking, it is recommended that adopting a wider choice of technologies is definitely worthy of consideration. Technologies such as dealing with Unstructured Data and so-called No SQL (Standard Query Language) platforms can greatly improve the way that data is captured, stored and explored. They provide greater flexibility and assist with an enterprise in dealing with future scenarios that require unconventional data storage.

Enterprises have a wide choice of database choices and where they go about deploying their choice. Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) offers many Cloud Native database options from the various public cloud providers. Open Source DBaaS solutions can cater for a fair chunk of the data that is planned to be migrated and should offer cost savings over traditional solutions as well as allowing enterprises to adopt new data mining technologies, such as those on offer by using Analytics and AI.


Dedicated Data Management software support a number of key operational components all in one place. These include back-up/recovery, data encryption (both for data at rest and in-flight), data de-duplication, data cleansing (when migrating from one database to another) etc. Data Management is a fundamental part of any modern data solution and needs to be part of the overall design and budget. Fortunately, there's a plethora of Cloud Data Management (CDM) solutions available but this implies an additional task in evaluating and selecting the right platform.


In conclusion, many Cloud and Hybrid solutions exist to help businesses to realise the value of their data. But there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Key tasks include: Creating the Business Case and ROI model; choosing software and platforms; and building and executing the migration plan. Large Enterprise organisations can afford to establish a fully staffed Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) to take ownership of such tasks. For smaller organisations attaining these goals can be achieved with the inclusion of a trusted and independent partner to fill skills gaps and help with the formation and operation of the CCoE.


At MultiCloud Global, our approach is to offer a CCoE-as-a-Service solution which includes data and CDM consulting services. The overall data project is controlled and driven by the CIO and the CIO’s team with MultiCloud Global providing flexible services as required. In this way we positively use data and CDM solutions to help our clients to accelerate their cloud ambitions.

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