90% of G1000 organisations will adopt multi/hybrid cloud by 2024, predicts IDC. As hybrid and multi-cloud models become table stakes for IT infrastructure, where can CIOs and technology leaders gain a competitive advantage?
The answer lies in speed—namely timely access to and analysis of data. Businesses need to focus on developing a data strategy that helps provide greater visibility and oversight, directing an organisation’s innovation investment and helping them understand how customers behave and spend. Here is how leaders can champion multi-cloud innovation with a unified data strategy.
To best make sense of the data, the first stage consists of bringing data together wherever possible. Consolidating different lines of business on the same cloud forms may not be easy. However, eliminating underutilised platforms and merging similar workloads onto the same infrastructure can reduce data complexity and lower organisational costs.
Simplifying operations will enable businesses to boost innovation in several ways. First, it helps different departments to access the data they need with minimal delay. Second, it encourages common data platforms and standards for different departments to operate and innovate on. Finally, the centralised visibility of data allows leaders across the business to observe and analyse much more of the business than before, potentially unearthing new insights and opportunities for innovation that may have otherwise been overlooked.
Create a common data layer
However, the true potential of using data to drive innovation lies in a business’s data strategy. This means IT leaders must still develop ways to empower teams to manage data across private, public, and hybrid clouds—all with overarching visibility and control.
Businesses should then endeavour to adopt cloud infrastructure that can support a single management layer. Doing so allows for the continuous flow of data between infrastructures without compromising security or visibility. A common data fabric enables more flexible and efficient innovation, helping developers port applications and containers between clouds with minimal friction. The data fabric should also give IT the flexibility to deploy and operate both new and existing clouds wherever they need to, with granular infrastructure management throughout the organisation’s cloud footprint.
The future-proof path
Consolidated cloud portfolios, coupled with a single overarching data fabric and flexible provisioning models, lay strong foundations for any organisation’s innovation capabilities.
IT leaders need to be forward-thinking to ensure their organisation’s data architecture can support emerging systems and applications. Quite often, such technologies create or consume huge amounts of data—far more than many multi-cloud environments are accustomed to handling. Ideally, the cloud vendor should provide the choice to seamlessly expand across the biggest public clouds, including AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, to accommodate new flows and types of information.
Like any “natural resource”, data has limited value unless it can be refined to have an important role in a business’s digital transformation strategy. By incorporating a single fabric to support the growth and diversity of workloads, the business will have central visibility and control over its data. This ultimately means the business will be empowered to achieve big-picture innovation, quite literally above the clouds.