Modern data-driven businesses need to rely on the power of three

This is a guest blogpost by James Petter, VP International at Pure Storage.

How many of us have grown up learning the fable about the three little pigs? Or before then, the three wise men? The power of three is largely recognised as the smallest number that allows us to remember a pattern in a set – think Location, Location, Location, or more recently Hands. Face. Space.

But what does this have to do with how modern businesses should run? Organisations are under relentless pressure to make decisions faster, execute quicker, and more importantly pivot at a quick pace if required. In tandem, the last 22 months have demonstrated the need to think digital-first in an effort to be future-ready and more resilient than ever before.

Amidst the pressure, it’s IT infrastructure and data storage that have taken centre stage. IT leaders have realised that agile, scalable, invisible data services are the three core pillars behind competitive business operations, while ensuring they can innovate and automate at the speed customers demand, and on the infrastructure the business chooses.

Here’s why those power-of-three are fundamental to any business looking to position themselves as a modern and data-driven leader:

  1. Embracing an agile (data) mindset

So often categorised under the banner of digital transformation, agility is moving out of its shadow to very quickly become its own marker of a business at the edge of innovation. Yet it’s important that businesses resist the temptation to run before they can walk. Too often agile excellence is a soundbite in the boardroom, before the realisation that the appropriate infrastructure isn’t in place to deliver.

According to IDC, across Europe 90% of CEOs now view organisational agility as critical but overestimate their own capabilities. Fundamentally, it’s the IT hardware, the data it processes and the software that manages this which enable a business to move fast, be resilient to new challenges and make smarter decisions. Yet, the lingering influence of legacy equipment leads many to struggle to meet modern application delivery requirements which could drive the business forwards.

Understanding how data storage can be adaptable to modern applications while ensuring access, provisioning and management is a signpost for business agility. Businesses should look towards those platforms that combine the speed and elasticity of the cloud with the performance and reliability of hardware to power innovative applications and keep key decision-makers informed with real-time, accurate data insights. That’s how organisations can embody agile principles.

  1. Scalability as your growth partner

As the ability to develop and integrate business applications at speed becomes a key commercial battleground, IT leaders cannot afford to let issues with scalability or provisioning get in the way of results. In fact, today’s data-driven business should be solely focused on IT outcomes, backed by confidence in automated, scalable infrastructure.

Moreover, with projections from IDC showing that 80% of worldwide data will be unstructured by 2025, enterprise storage must evolve to deliver a cloud-like operating model that gives organisations the flexibility to store and scale at speed, no matter where their data resides. The logical progression of this is to flexibly pay for solutions as they are needed and also ensure services are in place to support an organisation’s wider needs. This will enable leaders to remain responsive to the evolving needs of the business, be sensitive to customer demands and keep them one step ahead of the competitors.

As a form of best practice, leaders should look towards platforms that can unify different arrays and optimise storage pools on demand. Why? Users can rapidly consume volumes, file systems and advanced data services like replication without waiting for back-end manual work, taking performance, density and data availability to new levels. This automated approach provides complete peace-of-mind in delivering simplicity across different storage environments, be it on-premise, hybrid or cloud-first, and enables leaders to concentrate on those all-important strategic outcomes.

  1. A purely invisible IT estate

We might be in 2022, but for many IT leaders, operations can still be stuck in the 1990s. Even as the emphasis on technology shifts from service to value delivery, research shows that more than half (55%) of the IT budget is spent on maintaining business operations with just 19% going towards building innovative new capabilities. In clipping the wings of the technology department like this, organisations will not be able to build a data-driven operational model that will keep them competitive.

Today, digital transformation has reached the point where the influence of IT should almost be unnoticeable. As the world turns increasingly virtual, an organisation’s infrastructure should be automated, running seamlessly without intervention. As the pressure to manage, store and protect data increases, the cloud is helping to evolve the definition of modern infrastructure. No longer a physical ‘box’ in a data centre which requires maintenance, monitoring and intervention, IT can now consume, manage and update infrastructure in a hands-off, software-first environment. Leaders can enjoy a de-facto menu of predefined services to meet their specifications without worrying about keeping the lights on. In effect, this turns the infrastructure ‘invisible’ as attention turns to helping the business stay agile and ahead of the competition.

Future-ready

If businesses wish to emerge from the pandemic as a leader, not a laggard, then it’s imperative that their IT estate is predicated upon the data storage equivalent of the power of three: agility, scalability and invisibility. With the right storage platforms, these empower businesses to move at the speed customers demand with confidence in their self-service IT so that they can focus on delivering smart data insights on the infrastructure they choose. It’s the marker of a modern business and a flag in the ground for being ‘future ready’.

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