The following interview took place with Piyush Mehta, CEO of Data Dynamics Inc. Read to learn Piyush’s thoughts and predictions regarding data management and the impact it will have on the digital economy.
Q: As you look back on 2017, what were the key challenges organizations faced as they worked to move towards the requirements of the new digital economy?
The digital economy brings with it some great opportunities but the transformation, like any other, is painful. Most organizations want to leverage the digital world to gather data points to make better business decisions and customize products/offerings to as granular a level as feasible. The challenge in 2017 was the realization that unstructured data was dumped into storage silos without any thought or plans of extracting it in the future for value. Those mounds of legacy data today have become an important asset and as such, understanding it becomes a vital first step in the journey. In addition, applications are being re-written to meet the needs of a digitally paced economy but rewriting applications takes time, how do you leverage existing apps to access and manage new storage paradigms that scale to meet the needs of a digital world? This is a repeated challenge that we have seen enterprises face in 2017 and are still trying to address.
Q: Do you think these challenges will remain as we move into 2018? What new challenges will likely emerge?
The challenges from 2017 will remain as transformations take years not months. That being said, companies are adapting and innovating faster than ever and over the next 2-3 years will address the challenge of managing legacy data. As enterprises meet those challenges, new challenges will continue to evolve, among them are:
- Sheer amount of data creation and retention. At what stage does historical data not provide any value and can be deleted? Statutory requirements have no bearing on this question because every enterprise goes far beyond the legal requirement to store data as there is a ‘you never know when you may need it’ question. But with data growing at exponential rates, there will need to be an answer to when the value of the data dissipates and its best to delete.
- Security of the data and who has access. As data volumes grow, so too does the vulnerability to securing it. Managing access control to data will be one of the top challenges facing CEO’s as an enterprise’s greatest asset is its data.
Q: We are hearing more and more about “smart” and/or “intelligent” IT (less and less about speeds and feeds) – how will we see this concept playing a role in 2018 and onwards?
There’s more buzz then bite to this. You can only generate intelligence if you understand what you have, otherwise how you can extract the value from it? Most companies just don’t know the data they have, let alone leverage it to its max. I believe today we leverage 10-15% of the value that data can provide in helping make better and more intelligent decisions as many of the tasks that support and surround data management are still done in an archaic manner. Until we drive a consistent, automated and policy driven method to manage data so we may find it when and where we need it, these words will continue to be strong marketing jargon but slow to adoption.
Q: Can you talk about Data Dynamics and its StorageX software – what enhancements have been recently added to meet the requirements of 2018’s digital business environment?
It is an exciting time for us at Data Dynamics as we just launched StorageX 8.0. Our 8.0 release enables customers to accelerate their digital transformation journey. There is a vast array of new feature/functionality that we’ve added to the product based on years of experience working with some of the largest enterprises in the world. Our customers wanted a better understanding of what they have stored over the years so we added an Analytics module to empower them to know what they have, how it is being stored, who is access it, etc. This enables them to utilize raw meta data into actionable information! Our support for S3-based Object storage, both on and off-prem, provides the flexibility and versatility required to move data across a hybrid cloud, meeting both the need for scale and agility. StorageX 8.0 empowers dev ops as we have a robust Restful API to support applications to automate creation, management, movement and reporting of their storage infrastructure. These functionalities are further empowered because StorageX 8.0 is the first platform that helps manage unstructured data in a native format so that users and applications can have end to end visibility into where and how the physical data is stored. This is an essential differentiator to storage management software developed by other ISV’s who ‘box in’ customers into their proprietary name space or shard the data as they transform it. We will continue to innovate to meet the needs of our customers and we have some great plans ahead for StorageX 8.1 and beyond.
Q: Any parting advice you wish to offer to business and/or IT leaders?
I continue to see enterprises set ambitious goals to transform their infrastructure to meet the needs of a digital economy. Unfortunately, most of these goals are ‘pie in the sky’ dreams as executing them in complex, siloed environments is not an easy task. Start the journey for your transformation with achievable baby steps, set actions and plans that can actually be accomplished and realize that the transformation is not a sprint but a marathon and the digital age is just starting. Understand what you have before even embarking on what you want to accomplish. Find technologies that you can leverage to drive automation into the process, is scalable and can grow with you as you expand your executable goals.
As with the industrial revolution in the late 1800s, the digital revolution is in its infancy, the world as we know it will change with the evolution and advancement of quantum computing and machine learning. This will impact every aspect of our lives and change the course of humanity. It’s a great time to be in technology as each organization can have an impact in this transformational era but must do so understanding operational limitations that exist within their business and adapt and innovate accordingly.
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