How Will You Activate Your Data in 2022?

By Tony Velcich, Feb 14, 2022

Turn your business-critical data into actionable insights through data activation.

Data is the currency of digital transformation and modern business, yet more than eighty percent of critical business data goes unused, according to a study by TDWI.

As we head into 2022, there is not a business leader who wouldn’t agree with the importance of data and leveraging analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to gain competitive advantage.

What’s challenging this global thinking among data leaders, however, is that all too often, data sits trapped across many on-premises systems within an organization. What will make data activation important as we move into 2022 is accelerated time to business outcomes. In fact, in the words of Peter Sondergaard, former senior vice president of Gartner Research, “Data is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” There is a lot of competition among companies to acquire new customers; those companies that can get to the cloud fastest will win.

Riding the data activation wave

Data activation is a concept being driven by data itself. It’s no secret that data is growing exponentially and that much of it is still stuck in isolated environments. And, there’s no shortage of vendors helping companies unlock their data for true business value. So how did we get from just storing data to unleashing it for all it’s worth?

It all started with solving the right problem at the right time. Think of it as a series of waves. In wave one, companies dealt with their data by moving it, storing it, and organizing it.

In wave two, innovations in technology made it possible to use data analytics, AI, and ML in isolated environments to understand the data and learn from it to make better business decisions

We are now in the third wave: data activation. In this wave, it’s not about creating ways to manage data. It’s not about process or plumbing. It’s about making data itself carry value — making every data point inherently useful and unleashing data’s full value in real time and at scale. This wave introduces a new era in which:

  • Data from every purchase, device, or sensor worldwide will drive business value in real time.
  • Companies will fully understand current and prospective customers.
  • New revenue opportunities will arise.
  • The full potential of cloud computing is activated.

Say “good-bye” to the past

The old way of moving data from legacy systems to the cloud is history: assess the on-premises environment, identify which apps and data to move and in what timeframe, and develop custom tools to move the data (the latter being a big cost and resource-drain on businesses).

It’s not about process or plumbing. It’s about making data itself carry value — making every data point inherently useful and unleashing data’s value in real time and at scale.

If you let your data “hang out” on premises then you will constrain how much value you can get from your data and the cloud.

At WANdisco, our approach to data activation involves three simple steps in your digital transformation journey: automate, optimize, activate.

  1. Automate. The first step is to assess your environment and plan which data to move and in what time frame, and then make it available wherever it is needed — whether it’s on-premises to on-premises, on-premises to the cloud, edge to cloud, or cloud to cloud.
  2. Optimize. The second step is to organize and optimize your data so that it will work in the new cloud environment. By this, we mean collecting your company’s data and managing it efficiently to maximize the speed and effectiveness of extracting, analyzing, and utilizing critical information.
  3. Activate. The third step is to activate — bring business-critical data to life — your data at scale to enable better business decisions, improve the customer experience, and create new revenue streams.

Crossing the finish line

While business leaders want to digitally transform their companies, not everyone wants to be the first to move to the cloud. There may be organizational and cultural barriers or a lack of in-house cloud skills on the IT team hindering such efforts. Whatever the hurdles, moving your data quickly will enable you to rapidly analyze that data and build native cloud applications that can run faster and deliver real-time insights and impacts. Here are some real-world examples of companies doing large-scale data activation right.

Netflix wraps up visual effects in the cloud

Netflix perhaps was ahead of its time when it came to data activation. From the onset, the media and entertainment leader used analytics to better understand its customers, make recommendations, and produce content. Netflix uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) for nearly all of its computing and storage needs, including analytics. When COVID-19 put the world in lockdown, Netflix was about to begin post-production visual effects work on its episodic drama, The Crown. By adopting a cloud-based workflow on AWS, Netflix’s in-house visual effects team was able to seamlessly complete more than 600 visual effects shots for the season’s 10-episode run in just eight months, all while working remotely.

Multinational giant plans exabyte-scale migration of IoT data from edge to cloud

A global leader in engineering and electronics is working to transform itself from a manufacturing company to a data company, and has partnered with WANdisco to activate more than 30 petabytes of sensor data every two weeks, totaling 720 petabytes in the first year alone. The strategy is lofty: the goal is to make the data collected from cars equipped with the company’s sensors available in the cloud. The data would then be accessible to auto manufacturers for ML and AI solutions such as predictive diagnostics — which optimize vehicle availability and reduce maintenance and service costs for car owners — and accident diagnostics, which enable insurance companies to improve claims processing and create new revenue streams such as driver discounts.

Telco makes the right call

Taking a data-first approach, a leading global telco migrated more than 20 petabytes of data without requiring any business disruption in less than half the time originally scheduled. The data was immediately available for the company’s data scientists to use for the development of AI and ML. Leveraging its data, cloud elasticity, and new AI capabilities, the telco was able to block more than one billion robocalls per month, enable enhanced fraud detection, and save millions of dollars by decommissioning its on-premises disaster recovery data center.

HSBC reinvents mobile banking with ML

One of the largest international banks, HSBC, needed a better way to serve its 39 million-plus customers, so it developed PayMe, a social app that instantly and securely facilitates cashless transactions between consumers and their networks. But HSBC struggled to overcome scalability limitations that blocked it from making data-driven decisions. HSBC chose the Databricks analytics platform to centralize all aspects of its analytics processes, slashing complex analytics from six hours to six seconds; replacing 14 databases with one Delta Lake; and seeing a nearly five-times increase in customer engagement with the PayMe app.

Daimler AG revs up innovation in the cloud

Daimler AG recognized that its on-premises environment was a “dead end,” so the company restructured all of its activities around analytics, big data, and AI in the cloud. Daimler chose WANdisco to move 110 terabytes of critical data to the Microsoft Azure cloud because it was the only solution that moved data without downtime and validated that all of the data was migrated. Daimler gained five times the storage capacity at 30 percent lower cost; modulated the migration link between on-premises and cloud to share the connection; and guaranteed data consistency, real-time availability, and continuous replication, even with changing data.

Size of the prize

So what’s the benefit of getting to the cloud faster? It’s not about the cost; it’s about the prize. The prize is different for every business, but there is a return on investment. If data activation is done right, businesses can cut their digital transformation time and migration costs between 50 percent and 75 percent, and can virtually eliminate business risks.

The deluge of data being created is turning every company into a data company, and every data leader needs to do something with their data. There’s incredible competition among companies for market share, and those that can unleash their data for transformative business value are more likely to outperform competitors in acquiring new customers; generating new revenue streams; and building a modern, scalable data platform that can keep up with the increasing demands on their business.

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Tony Velcich

Tony is an accomplished product management and marketing leader with over 25 years of experience in the software industry. Tony is currently responsible for product marketing at WANdisco, helping to drive go-to-market strategy, content and activities. Tony has a strong background in data management having worked at leading database companies including Oracle, Informix and TimesTen where he led strategy for areas such as big data analytics for the telecommunications industry, sales force automation, as well as sales and customer experience analytics.

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