Data chaos threatens to undermine BI success

Research commissioned by Splunk has found that many customers are still not using BI tools to get on top of data complexity issues

Getting insights out of data is a real challenge because most customers do not have a handle on what they are storing and the problem is growing week by week.

The business intelligence market, vendors in the storage world and also those keen to make sure priority assets are secured are all voicing a need for greater understanding of data.

That message is resonating with customers according to a report produced by analyst house Quocirca on behalf of BI player Splunk.

The analysts found that just shy of a quarter of firms are concerned about data chaos. A similar number feared their inability to master data would deliver a poor customer experience.

There are also security worries because a loose grip on data means there are risks that some important pieces of information could be exposed to breaches.

All of the fears around data come at a time when customers are becoming more aware that those that do get on top of it are likely to be in a position to exploit the insights and improve their competitive position.

This doesn't seem to be an argument about the benefits of using business intelligence tools but rather one around how to get into a position to take full advantage of them.

“A post-financial crisis easing of budgetary constraints means IT departments are refocusing on delivering value to the business, including delivering better customer experience as interaction becomes reliant on multiple channels,” said Bob Tarzey, analyst, Quocirca.

“Supporting this cross-channel experience results in growing IT complexity and greater volumes of machine data, which, if unmanaged, increases data chaos. However, if this data is collected and analysed it can provide better insight through improved operational intelligence, enabling those with the capability to reap the benefits: better security awareness, higher system uptime and improved customer service levels,"he added.

Findings from the report will be good news to those in the channel pitching business intelligence tools and services and they were welcomed by Adam Bangle, vice president, EMEA, Splunk.

“It is no surprise that organisations with the strongest operational intelligence capability are best equipped to deal with the complexities of the modern IT landscape,” he said.

Getting on top of data is a theme that is being echoed across the channel and speaking recently at the VeeamOn Forum in London, Ovum's prinicpal analyst, infrastructure solutions Roy Illsley, said that customers were moving from backup and recovery to total data availability and there was an opportunity for the channel to talk to them about that process and provide assistance at the outset.

Operational Intelligence

Quocirca pointsd out there are some areas where getting a better grip on data can help solve problems:

IT infrastructure complexity: As organisations move to more heterogeneous and complex IT platforms, they are turning to Operational Intelligence to provide the necessary management insight.

The cross-channel customer experience: With 68% of organisations having a ‘high’ or ‘medium’ reliance on the cross channel experience, businesses have to deal with increased volumes of data from these channels including mobile apps, social media and sensor-based devices.

Security: While Operational Intelligence helps conquer complexity, it also leads to greater concerns about IT security as those with insight into the threats they face are less complacent than those who lack such insight.

"Customers need a better map of managing that data. What they want is that data to be secure and available," he added "More customers are realising that their data is very valuable and has to be there. Not every organisation can afford to wait 15 minutes for the backup to restore."

"Lots of firms have not done that data mapping," he added that not all information would need to be available so firms would have to grade their data according to what could be backuped to tape and restored more slowly and what was needed in real-time.

"Understanding your data is going to be key, data is so important, but very few people do," said Illsley, who added that it was a clear opportunity for the channel to provide that help, particularly in verticals.

Users will come under increasing pressure to get on top of their data because leaving it just to grow, even using a public cloud platform for reasonably priced storage, is going to undermine the potential to deliver better experiences both internally and externally to customers.

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