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Harnessing the power of data

Image: Adobe Stock / Looker_Studio

Paul Mackay, Vice President Cloud – EMEA & APAC at Cloudera, explores how data is changing lives across the globe. 

Data has long been one of the most valuable assets any organisation possesses – and now, it’s growing at an unstoppable rate. The volume of data created, captured, copied and consumed worldwide is projected to hit 147 zettabytes in 2024, a 23% year-on-year increase.

More data means more potential use cases. In recent years, data has gone from something that was collected and applied to relatively simple tasks, to an asset that is now genuinely changing lives in areas such as drug discovery, personalised healthcare treatments and the development of smarter, greener cities.

However, the increase in the scale of data is amplifying the challenge of storing and analysis. New approaches are emerging to manage and extract value from huge data repositories. But only those organisations with the capability to manage the deluge of data effectively will fully realise the benefits and create meaningful use cases.

The power of effective data management

Unlike many precious commodities, the value of data is defined not by its scarcity, but how it is used. Managing data effectively is increasingly important – and challenging – given today’s highly complex IT environments that span on-premises systems and private/public clouds. This hybrid and multi-cloud approach means data is often geographically dispersed and siloed by different technology infrastructures and policies.

Organisations need a cost-effective way to get the right data to the right people at the right time – empowering staff to make informed decisions. And organisations must do so in a consistent, seamless manner that enables staff to self-serve data easily within the confines of a complex patchwork of data security and governance regulations. To achieve this, organisations must look for the right architectures to suit their business needs.

A data fabric architecture is useful for preparing and managing data at scale. Open data lakehouses combine the storage capabilities of a data lake with the structure and accessibility of a data warehouse via the cloud. This offers the added benefits of near unlimited storage, scalable virtualised compute power, cost efficiency and high resiliency.

Transforming industries

Organisations able to build a data architecture that harnesses the power of data will be able to explore new use cases. From smart cities to finance, almost every industry is finding ways to make the most of their data:

  • Making smart cities smarter: Modern hybrid cloud data architectures enable governments and other stakeholders to ingest, store and analyse large volumes of unstructured data. By reaping the energy efficiency benefits of cloud and enhancing access to data-driven insights, organisations can reduce carbon emissions while analysing real-time data on events like crime and traffic congestion.
  • Delivering lifesaving treatment faster: From accelerating data processing to speed up the search for organ donors, to using predictive analytics to personalise treatments, the power of the cloud and data is saving lives. In pharmaceuticals, drug companies able to unleash the combined force of data and AI are also optimising R&D and drug discovery to bring life-saving treatments to market faster.
  • Metamorphic manufacturing: Hybrid cloud and modern data architectures have been deployed to support IoT and enhance production and supply chains for Industry 4.0 sites. With greater insight into inventory, and more agile processes in place, manufacturers can pivot fast to minimise supply chain disruption and react to changing market demands. That means getting the products that users want into their hands quicker.
  • Keeping customers connected: By tearing down traditional silos and supporting AI analytics, modern hybrid architectures give telcos a 360-degree view of their customers, network operations and services. These insights enable faster fault detection for improved network performance, and more accurate customer profiling for an optimised end-to-end experience. 
  • Truly personal finance: By analysing real-time contextual data from customer interactions, banks can curate relevant experiences across all channels. GenAI promises a step-change in the capabilities of complex actions, such as enhancing customer chatbots, while predictive analytics can analyse transactions in real-time to prevent suspicious activity and fraud.

Just the beginning

This is far from an exhaustive list of the potential benefits that a modern data architecture can deliver. Once organisations are able tap into the wealth of data they create and capture every single second, the door opens to unlimited possibilities.

Business leaders need data to make smarter decisions about their customers and their operations. But as data volumes grow and IT complexity increases, this becomes more challenging. That’s when hybrid and multi-cloud data platforms come into their own: eliminating data silos and supporting rapid, cost-effective access for the right people at the right time.

Picture of Paul Mackay
Paul Mackay
Vice President Cloud – EMEA & APAC at Cloudera

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