In ‘post’-COVID times, it’s a common challenge for companies across industries: how can we make the business even more responsive, more customer-obsessed, more market-relevant? The short answer: by managing and using data as a critical enterprise asset.

Competing and thriving from now on demands real-time decision-making, augmented with AI-driven insights, powered by Cloud. And underpinning all that? Data, in increasingly massive volumes.

The trend towards increased use of data and AI in Asia Pacific is clear. According to IDC estimates, spend on AI platforms and applications by enterprises in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) is set to increase by a five-year CAGR of 30%, rising from US$753.6 million in 2020 to US$2.2 billion in 2024[1].

CXOs know all this, of course. Most of them are already focused on finding ways to extract the full value from the data. But for many, still in the exploratory phase, and with complex legacy infrastructures and strict security and compliance requirements, it’s a tough proposition.

So what next? To answer that question, we’ve been working with Google to create industry-specific solutions that can fast-track the unlocking of trapped value from data. We recently published a joint PoV that contains the full story. In this blog, I want to highlight some of the key findings from that PoV.

Adopt a unified approach

First, plan ahead. When they initiate the move to Cloud, enterprises need to understand that data management decisions will have a big impact further down the road – particularly on their ability to generate real-time insights.

It pays to be prepared, in other words. So what are the most common pitfalls? Enterprises migrating from legacy to Cloud often lack a unified management data strategy spanning both environments.

Things get more complicated with hybrid, multi-Cloud and edge. So when they move their data to Cloud, CXOs often hit a challenging transitional phase: they need to integrate insights from data stored across multiple architectures –  but they lack a consistent way of doing so.

That’s not all. They’re also often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data – and the potential value they can derive from it. The result? Because they lack a holistic approach that links enterprise data strategy to broader business objectives, culture, and processes, valuable data remains underutilised, or not used at all.

Data must flow freely

A joined-up approach is essential to address the need to break down data silos and gain new business insights from a single interface.

In most organisations, it’s still usual for data to be shared across the enterprise on a need-to-know basis. When data’s stored on multiple platforms – on-prem, hybrid/multi-Cloud – things get even more complicated.

Because each platform has its own governance structure and security protocols, they’re hard to manage collectively. And that makes data democratisation and self-service impossible.

Improve visibility

By 2022, IDC predicts that 55% of enterprises in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) will deploy multi-Cloud management processes and tools, unified virtual machines (VMs) and Kubernetes to support robust multi-Cloud data management and governance across on-premise and public Cloud [2].

But without cross-Cloud capabilities for secure data processing and management, they still won’t be able to realise the real value from multi-Cloud. Each CSP has its own proprietary APIs for data management. But because it’s expensive to move all their data to a single window, enterprises end up with poor visibility into their data architecture.

The unstructured challenge

Legacy data management systems struggle with unstructured data. That’s a real problem for two reasons. First, nearly 80% of data is unstructured. And second, more Cloud deployments can only mean enterprises need faster access to data across increasingly distributed landscapes.

Right now, this is putting data analytics practitioners under extraordinary pressure. Integration of AI/ML and NLP tools with legacy systems ratchets that up even more. Instead of focusing on value-creating data analysis, they’re kept busy with data cleansing/processing.

Because game-changing AI technologies aren’t being used as efficiently as they could be, enterprise data management systems find it hard to contextualise industry-specific datasets and generate insights that drive strategic decision-making.

The way forward from here

So if those are the challenges, what steps can enterprises take to overcome them and accelerate their data-driven journey? We’ve identified three steps – each one of them is absolutely essential to any Cloud journey.

While we go into them in more detail in our joint PoV, for now, and very much in brief:

  1. Develop a robust unified data strategy. Data complexity keeps on widening the gap between business and IT goals. To bridge that gap, enterprises need to understand their data maturity. That way they can be sure they’re investing in the right tools and data – and evolving their data strategy to get the most business value from them.
  2. Invest in the right platforms. Enterprises need to invest in a Cloud-based unified data management platform. This is the key to integrating data from multiple sources, irrespective of underlying architectures and the CSPs that are being used.
  3. Develop the right culture. The commitment to being data-driven has to be enterprise-wide. It starts with the CEO and top management, but it has to permeate the entire organisation. Part of the process? Appoint a data champion as the bridge between business and IT.

In the end, it all comes down to data. And the sooner enterprises can deploy new technologies and approaches to extract full value from it, the sooner they’ll have the real-time insights they need to outperform and become a leader in their industry.

Our joint PoV with Google is here. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog so please get in touch.

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Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors This document refers to marks owned by third parties.  All such third-party marks are the property of their respective owners.  No sponsorship, endorsement or approval of this content by the owners of such marks is intended, expressed or implied.

[1] Source: IDC Worldwide Black Book: 3rd Platform Edition, Feb 2021 (https://www.idc.com/tracker/showproductinfo.jsp?containerId=IDC_P19658)

[2] Source: IDC Predicts Hybrid and Multi Cloud to Dominate and Managed Cloud Adoption to Rise in Asia/Pacific by 2020 (https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prAP46093220)

Sandip Gupta

Lead – Accenture Google Business Group, Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East

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