With Father’s Day upon us, we are reminded of the frequent challenges and abundant rewards of fatherhood. Just as challenging and as potentially rewarding as parenting, is the task of information management and role in creating an environment for ‘big data’ to flourish and prosper, writes Mike Rees, territory account manager for Commvault South Africa.
Fatherhood is a long-term endeavour that requires constant, continual investment of time and resources, even on the days when it feels like you have none left to spare. So too, can the task of managing a company’s data be described.
In addition, even though there are many similarities that can be drawn between raising children and data management, there is an exception. Parenting does not come with a single set of rules or one convenient handbook that can guide fathers through the process. ‘Nurturing’ and managing data, on the other hand, is somewhat more of a science and technology makes the undertaking that much easier.
Data management strategy – the key to fathering useful data
Most fathers have a clear idea of the kind of dad they plan to be while the child is still in utero. Just as important as it is for dads to read all the parenting literature and to be involved in the creation of a parenting plan, so too is it necessary to take a similar approach to data management. It’s important for a company to know exactly what data they need to conduct business and what data is required to retain their customers.
It’s essential for a company to put a data management plan and platform in place that details exactly how data will be treated and handled, from the moment it is created. For ordinary data to become big data, it needs the right plan in place.
This plan needs to address how unstructured data, structured data and analytical data will be handled and it must define the data that needs to be protected, and how this will be carried out. Unfortunately, if data is neglected from the start, it can impact expectations, not to mention the business, down the line.
Paternal wisdom, rules and guidance
Data management, like children, requires a set of principles, morals and values at the outset. In addition, these principles should stem from comprehensive strategy that makes good business sense including compliance with a variety of legislations. This preparation and approach results in easily accessible and manageable data, whether on premise, in the cloud or offline, over the retained period.
It is important to ensure that these sets of rules and principles (in relation to data management) enable the business to create the appropriate process to identify important data and facilitates the management thereof in the most efficient and cost-effective way in the long-term.
Data, like children, will require resourcefulness and smart management
Children have busy schedules and long lists of expenses. Juggling these can get complicated. The same can be said for data management. It’s important to handle this correctly, throughout the data lifecycle because at different points in time, that data’s importance to the business might change. Even as data gets older it’s important to have access to that data should a query or legal issue arise, but unlike children, data isn’t something you want to keep around forever.
While some people might say that the safest approach to data retention is simply to keep everything and back it up to ensure compliance. However, it’s costly and unwieldy to do so. The cost of the additional infrastructure required to maintain and keep that data really adds up – either in time and money. Much like an au pair or a nanny can help bring order to a child’s schedule and provide an extra pair of hands, so too can an efficient data management solution do the same when it comes to looking after data through its life cycles.
Data management versus parenting
It’s likely that on reaching the end of reading this article, that you’ve been struck by the realisation that parenting and data management might be very similar topics.
However, you’ve also probably come to the realisation that data management isn’t as challenging as it sounds, and is nowhere nearly as complicated as, say parenting. Perhaps this will lead you to the realisation that it’s time to really think about how to make data work for your business. That it’s time to step up and raise big data, right. Why?
In a report published in 2016, the International Data Corporation found that by simplifying and consolidating a data management solution the benefits to business were enormous. By using a centralised data platform, businesses can reduce the amount of storage and data management hardware required by 42%, as well as cut data protection and data management software requirements by 52%.
Most importantly, using a centralised data platform reduces unplanned downtime by as much as 55% – saving both time and money. An important saving that any father or father-to-be can appreciate, when it comes down to saving for their child’s university education or having to skip his son’s important rugby game because there was a data management crisis at work.