Data storage is as old as written language itself. We may use silicon microchips now, but once upon a time, data storage meant writing information by hand onto scrolls of parchment. Floppy disks and hard disk drives are more recent examples, but they too were usurped once a better alternative came along.
This progress was driven by new technology and the need for extra security. Today, data has emerged as the world’s newest resource for competitive advantage. Big data is vital for all enterprises, and it is much more than a passing trend.
Organisations of any size can harness the power of data by analysing information from social platforms, business applications, and Internet of Things-enabled devices for better decisions.
This new world of data analysis has changed the way organisations operate, but because it is open to all, businesses are in competition with each other to extract every drop of value. They are constantly looking at new ways to use data to save costs, improve efficiency, and open new revenue streams. And so they should, because the potential for data cannot be underestimated.
Organisations in the Middle East know this, despite the fact that big data adoption is yet to reach the levels seen in North America and Western Europe. However, by adopting smart city initiatives in UAE, it became clear that the government is realising the value of data and its implications on business decisions. More and more businesses will now follow.
The challenge then is to find out how you can outperform your rivals using data, because they will be aiming to do the same. Your mind may instantly jump to the latest analytical tools, but when you step back and look at big data in its entirety, you can see where other, less exploited opportunities lie.
Data storage is one of these opportunities. In the march towards the summit of data, I wonder if data storage and its true impact has been overshadowed by the cooler analytical tools that seem more closely aligned with business value. Either way, the systems you use to store data can be just as vital as the tools you use to analyse it.
Data storage is the backbone that you use for the cool analytical tools to drive faster business value from big data. This will ultimately give you the edge to outthink and outperform your competition and win in the cognitive era.
“If you have not made data a part of your business model you are taking a big risk”
Storage is also cool for various reasons. Firstly, storage resources are pooled together in one single place, making them far easier to manage. Secondly, flash storage solutions provide scalable performance and operational efficiency needed to unlock insights from massive volumes of data. Thirdly and arguably most importantly, all-flash, virtualised, enterprise-class storage systems have been designed to deliver high performance combined with advanced management functions and competitive pricing.
I am pleased to say these benefits are within the reach of any business, no matter their size, and you can thank competition for that too. With so many enterprises looking to take advantage of data and its treasures, IT vendors knew they had to offer something for every layer of the market.
If you have not made data a part of your business model, you are taking a big risk. The pool of information to take advantage of is growing deeper every day, and if you do not find clever ways to use it, your competitors will. Efficient, high-performing data storage could become your secret weapon.
Miguel Vega is Vice President Systems Hardware at IBM Middle East and Africa.Click below to share this article