Unlocking the Value in Your Data: Modern Enterprise Data Management

6 min read

This is the second post in the three-part "Control to Customise" blog series.

Modern enterprises collect, generate, store and use a significant amount of data, but 90% of it goes to waste because companies don’t know how to analyse it or access it — or that it exists at all. There can be a lot of value in that data. It can help your business understand your customers and clients, track your employee productivity, uncover your operational trends and make predictions about your future profitability.

“To be able to deliver a good customer experience to individuals, we need to understand those individuals because the more personalised we can be, the more valuable we are to those customers,” said Jodie Sangster, CMO for IBM for Australia and New Zealand. “The way to gain that understanding is through data.”

But to unlock that value, you need the right tools and processes in place. Modern enterprise data management can help you control and understand your organisation’s data economics by ensuring you are using, securing and analysing the data at your disposal effectively. Data matters across every area of a company’s operations, so the right data management solution must be flexible, scalable and secure for a variety of operating environments.

“Data modernisation enables new services and processes,” said Deepali Naair, CMO for IBM in India and South Asia. “The business can transform its front-end user interfaces, create new features, automate previously manual processes and even launch new service offerings, faster.”

Fortunately, IBM Cloud Pak® for Data is a powerful solution for modern data management that doesn't require you to retrain your IT staff in data science and analysis — and that ensures your operations remain secure and compliant as you use that data to its full potential.

"Hybrid cloud provides you a flexible environment, so that you can store, access, manage and gain insights from data — and in a way that suits your business,” Sangster said.

IBM Cloud Pak for Data

IBM Cloud Pak for Data is a fully integrated platform for modern data collection, organisation and analysis. Offering a mixed ecosystem of proprietary, open source and third-party services, this cloud native platform is a modern solution for analysing and securing the data your company generates, collects, stores and uses.

Some companies collect reams of client and consumer data without really understanding how to use it properly or where its value lies, Sangster said. With IBM solutions like data management, embedded compliance and AI-driven analysis, the value of that data is more easily unlocked — sometimes in ways that wouldn’t be possible before digital modernisation.

Smart data storage and use for enterprises is not just a matter of good business — it’s also a matter of security for your company and those you serve. Customers and clients trust that when they provide a company with data about them or their activities, it will be securely stored and used without compromising their trust or privacy.   

Compliance is incredibly complex, Sangster said, and modern business operations mean dealing with regulations across multiple industries and countries. Regulatory compliance is built into the cloud environments developed by IBM, which reduces the risk of costly mistakes that can result in fines as well as a loss of consumer and client trust.

“It's of critical importance and where technology can really play a role in helping organisations to minimise risk through embedding compliance into the technology,” she said.

But the IBM Cloud Pak for Data goes way beyond just keeping your company’s raw data safe. It also unlocks its potential to find innovative solutions for your organisation, such as AI-powered processing and analysis using machine learning.

“Sometimes the struggle is how to get on top of the daunting task of managing data volume, while also gleaning insights from it, separating noise from information and, in effect, driving smarter decisions,” said Kitman Cheung, IBM’s CTO Data and AI, Analytics Platform, Asia Pacific. Finding valuable patterns in data by human analysis alone is impossible due to the sheer data volume and complexity, Cheung said. “That's where AI technology and machine learning pieces can come in to help.”

Artificial intelligence isn’t just valuable for analysing your data. With hybrid data management through IBM, AI also makes storing and accessing that data simple across your operations. And thanks to the power of Red Hat OpenShift, your workloads will run efficiently. For example, Schlumberger relies on Red Hat’s hybrid cloud technology to link its operations around the world, allowing the oilfield services company to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyse data that helps them transform their operations in oil and gas discovery and production.

And with artificial intelligence increasingly cited as a growth area across sectors, having the analytical power of a hybrid data solution available renders a clear business advantage. Through IBM’s applications, you can integrate and scale AI throughout your operations without heavy and uncertain investment required to build your own infrastructure. You can customise the IBM Cloud Pak for Data for your company’s needs thanks to its extensible platform, which integrates across several hardware, software and services.

Automate effectively

IBM’s hybrid data solutions also make the timesaving power of automation available across your organisation — and with remote and distanced operations an ongoing reality for many companies, automation is more important than ever. A recent Harvard Business Review Analytic services study found that 6 out of every 10 executives were fast-tracking process automation due to the pandemic.

The advantage of automation is what makes a policy-based approach to data management highly valuable, Cheung said. Instead of managing datasets individually, data management policies can deal with datasets of different types by applying consistent rules for organisation, access and analysis.

“If you have a policy in place, it's simply a matter of ensuring data storage and its location is mapped to the right place,” Cheung said. “And every time someone accesses that data, it would then apply the appropriate and necessary security protocols, and thus, access control would be much more effective.”    

With the Cloud Pak for Data, you can automate the platform and services — from patching and upgrading to managing and scaling. Now, more than ever, this gives your organisation an advantage in a constantly shifting business environment. Automation means saving time on necessary-but-repetitive tasks and frees up your employees’ time. This, in turn, enables them to use their knowledge and experience on critical tasks to make a difference to the organisation.

For example, the IBM Cloud Pak for Data was integral to the development of Streebo Inc’s Digital Experience Accelerator tool, which makes chatbot development accessible and reduces process time by about 80% than that of the previous one. This was partly made possible owing to IBM’s hybrid deployment solution. Companies can now automate operations like front-line customer service easily with a chatbot that can be quickly developed in just about two months.

Consistency in your company’s data management means that the system is as scalable as your business — and your data stores — grows. IBM’s hybrid data management makes consistency simple by providing a solution for any cloud environment that collects all your data and makes it available on-premises and in multicloud environments, no matter its structure, type or source.

Ensuring data security

Data security is also increasingly a legal matter because of regulations like GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California — and it’s fair to anticipate emergence of new regulatory frameworks down the road.

AI-based tools running on IBM Cloud ecosystems also make this complex task easier. IBM uses natural language processing capabilities to look at regulatory frameworks and augment human decision-making abilities around compliance. “We've looked at how can we include a specific regulatory requirement, try to understand the company's obligations around the same and then compare that to the incumbent policy to highlight any potential gaps,” Cheung said.

Part of ensuring adherence to compliance and security is anticipating who might access what data and, in turn, tracking how and when that data is used, including on-site and in cloud operating environments.

“Data governance solutions from IBM are vital to DataOps to ensure the data pipeline is ready to help organise, catalog, protect and govern sensitive data, trace data lineage and manage data lakes, so it can be ready to deploy AI and machine learning at scale,” Naair said.

Such a high bar for data security requires strong data stewardship and ownership policies, which include options for self or full management, on-premises or in the cloud. Your organisation can clear that bar at every level of operations thanks to embedded and automated governance via the IBM Cloud Pak for Data.

Pan-organisational buy-in on these processes is also vital to strong data management. That kind of support is easy to garner when your data solutions are accessible and logical. That’s why the IBM Cloud Pak for Data features intuitive role-based navigation and was built with a collaborative model in mind. It’s a solution for your entire organisation, accessible to everyone who needs it.

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Check out the other blog posts in the "Control to Customise" series:

This article was produced for IBM by BBC Storyworks Commercial Productions.

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