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THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
By 4 September 2019 | Categories: Thought Leadership

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By Kate Mollett, regional manager for Africa at Veeam

Conventional wisdom dictates that businesses who make decisions fast win. Slow decision-making has been labelled as a business killer. However, there is a prevailing counter-theory which suggests that companies need to think slower. In other words, it is more important to decide correctly than to decide quickly.

The latter accounts for the always-on nature of data in the modern, digital enterprise. CIOs tasked with managing the influx of data need to rethink how they approach it if they are to become the data-driven business leaders organisations require.

Organisations with strong data analytics practices will achieve improved decision-making skills as a result. Businesses not leveraging the power of their data will eventually be at a disadvantage, even if they realise short term gains by acting fast. The availability of data means it is not simply about the speed of decision-making, but the speed of thought. Quick thinking is different than decisive action. You can decide quickly but decide badly. Whereas quick-thinking involves weighing up your surroundings, abilities, and options in a short enough space of time that you gain an advantage.

However, business leaders are at different stages when it comes to how invested they are in using data. The 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management Report surveyed decision-makers from across the globe. The majority (93%) indicated that decision-making must change as cloud data management is deployed within businesses. Over a quarter (29%) said there needed to be a complete overhaul.

Data will absolutely change business leadership, but it will not subordinate it. There will still be a place for emotion. There will still be a place for, ‘I just know’. Business leaders have an expansive pool of experience, expertise, and acumen to draw on before they get to the data. The difference is that modern business leaders will go to the data. Some will do so sooner and more readily than others, but those who refuse to will struggle to survive. 

If data management strategies are to be successful, companies must follow four core components that not only encompass the technology but the people and the data-culture of the business.

Cloud

Cloud Data Management, an intrinsic part of intelligent data management, enables data availability across the business. Regardless of the cloud strategy or approach, leaders recognise the advantages. These can include everything from reliability and flexibility, to competitive costs and data security. Cloud enables them to manage and locate data where it will deliver the most value.

An organisation can aggregate large amounts of data but if it does not have an efficient way to store it and make it accessible to business users, it will turn against them. Having data that is stored through a reliable and manageable process directly correlates to corporate stability and improves the ability to forecast and make better-informed decisions.

Capability

Secondly, business capabilities matter.

If technologies such as backup, disaster recovery, and data protection are to have the expected business impact, companies must invest in their talent, giving them the tools and training to nurture their skills to successfully manage new programmes.

The outcome of this digital journey is intrinsically related to the level of technological capabilities of the user base. Upskilling employees’ digital skills will be vital to the success of the company and should not be overlooked when allocating company resources. After all, it is the people who make a company successful.

Culture

Corporate culture should be welcoming to innovation, support the introduction of new technologies, and speed the process of digital transformation. As companies move through this transformation, their culture needs to become more data-driven. Businesses already produce huge amounts of data, but it is not just about gathering data anymore, it must be managed, analysed, and used to inform faster and make more effective decisions.

And it is in the hands of the C-suite to convey this way of thinking. Leadership should demonstrate the business relation and how technology supports the company to uncover insights for better services and products.

Confidence

The final component is confidence in the company’s capability to meet digital challenges. This naturally increases as the business progresses on its digital transformation. However, the potential risks increase as well. Addressing the first three components not only gives peace of mind internally but also to customers and partners. Investing in robust, scalable, and flexible solutions to address mission-critical issues, while allocating resources to improve internal skills will lay that much needed strong digital foundation. 

CIOs must have confidence in the ability of the IT infrastructure to help the organisation stay responsive, available, and on the front foot. 

Cloud data management is an opportunity for every organisation and something which must be implemented at the most senior level of the business and executed right across the pyramid. CIOs must be willing to embrace this ‘new’ way of thinking and adapt their approaches to this digitally connected world. 

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