We all know data is the new oil and that it needs processing before its value can be unlocked. But we seldom think about how difficult it is to do that efficiently.
After all, our current appetite for data creation and storage is unprecedented.
“We’re living in the digital liberation era,” says Irfan Khan, global head of Sales, Platform, and Data Management at SAP, as he puts the data topic into context for his own family of six. “I wanted to help my family members manage their personal content of videos, photos, and document scans, so I invested in an 8-terabyte network storage system thinking we’re done, but within a year it was 75 percent full!”
That’s not unusual in an age that knows no bounds when it comes to snapping pictures of everything we see and storage from cradle to grave. But the volumes of personal data are nothing compared to the vast amounts of organizational data that is being generated, stored, transformed and classified by the minute.
“Take a large consumer goods company that might have a very large ERP footprint in the 100 terabytes range. If the firm has not invested in designing a data aging and archival solution they are likely incurring substantial challenges,” says Khan. “Adopting a disciplined approach to managing large consolidated environments is critical to dealing with the regulators ensuring security and privacy issues are not compromised.”
Many companies are challenged by classifying and archiving hot data. Hot data is needed to run operations, while cold data is necessary for security and compliance issues — like tracking and tracing a product that has been recalled.
Khan compares the enterprise dilemma of poor archival practices to an individual conduct of managing work or personal email inbox.
If you elect to hoard vast amounts of messages and do not regularly purge useless or outdated information, you may benefit from the short-term benefits of being able to search the entire inbox and associated subfolders if you are looking for something. However, if the company imposes a data storage quota, then suddenly, you may find yourself exceeding it. This will create unnecessary work deleting old messages and potentially removing valuable data that may no longer be accessible. But if you had taken a disciplined approach from the outset you would have a better view of information relevant to your daily work.
Multiply the data of one employee by tens or even hundreds of thousands of people in one company and you get an idea of what some organizations face when it comes to data management. And that doesn’t even include data streaming in from sensors and machines, or social media networks.
Technology to the Rescue
According to an SAP study on the state of Big Data published a year ago, 74 percent of enterprises say their data landscapes are so complex that it limits their agility. In addition, 86 percent say they are not getting the most out of their data. In fact, 84 percent of CEOs are concerned about the quality of their data and how that impacts decision making. The same study suggested that, on average, poor data quality costs a company $9.7 million per year.
So, there is a lot to be said for a more disciplined approach to data management.
“SAP Data Hub is the answer to modern data management challenges,” says Khan who regularly speaks to companies that are weighing the pros and cons of investing in data management systems either on premise or in the cloud.
The latest release of SAP Data Hub solves many of these issues. It provides a 360-degree view of all company data in a cross-landscape data center. It efficiently streams and processes data from all sources to unlock new machine learning and IoT use cases. It optimizes data costs by eliminating data duplication, and it enables all data compliance and governance policies to be managed from one central location.
Respect for Data
Khan goes on to elaborate the value of data: “In the past, data was being driven by the new disruptors — digital, social businesses like Uber. Now, data value is ubiquitous and it’s equally important to traditional businesses of all denominations.”
Kaeser Compressors, a manufacturer of compressed air and vacuum products, uses SAP Data Hub to manage and integrate IoT data with customer data, increasing productivity and improving operational agility and ticket handling. The company is achieving much higher customer satisfaction through greatly improved product support and design. According to Kaeser Compressor CIO Falko Lameter integrating IoT data with customer data enables the company to operate like an intelligent enterprise that provides real value to customers.
For Khan, the key value for organizations dealing with large volumes of data is the virtualized access without constraints. But even with the best technology, he says, “It’s important to respect data and manage it in a disciplined way. Only then can you get the full benefits of data needed for an intelligent enterprise.”