The CIO Hitachi survey results indicate a clear change of direction in the way that organisations are thinking about information and how it is managed. Management of data is an increasing burden for organisations, the survey shows, with no sign of let-up.
Nearly nine in 10 (88 per cent) said that data storage capacity in their organisation had increased in the last year, as illustrated in Chart 2. More than a quarter (27 percent) said that the cost of data storage had increased, while slightly fewer (22 per cent) said it had decreased and half (51 per cent) said it had remained the same. The change in cost for those organisations has been substantial: 39 per cent reported a change in cost of 20-40 per cent, while 18 per cent reported a change of 40-60 per cent.
It seems likely that some organisations are missing the opportunity to gain maximum efficiency out of their datacentres. In April 2011, analyst house Ovum published a report entitled From Money Pit to Profitability: The Business Case for Data Centre Efficiency Metrics, which found that most organisations are not measuring resource use in their datacentres and therefore are not tackling rising costs effectively. The reportundefineds author, senior analyst Rhonda Ascertio, was quoted as saying, undefinedDisparate IT systems and a lack of information sharing among different site teams have fuelled the attitude that data efficiency measurement is too difficult and expensive to implement. This means a massive opportunity is being missed to reduce the vast resources that datacentres swallow up.undefined
So why has data management become such a problem for organisations? In part it is down to the cumulative effect of more data being gathered every year. But there are two other important factors influencing the trend. One is that businesses now have a much clearer idea of the value of data to their organisation. Structured data about sales, customer habits, employee retention and so on is particularly valuable, and over time can show useful historical trends. Business intelligence systems, which retrieve and reporton enterprise data, are now an essential tool for many corporates, enabling them to cut wastage and direct their efforts towards the most profitable areas. In 2010, worldwide spend on business intelligence reached $4bn for the first time. Organisations are also beginning to find that unstructured data (customer comments on blogs or tweets or in voice calls, for example) can offer insights into the organisationundefineds performance. As a result, businesses are now keeping data that might at one time have been deleted.
The second factor is compliance. Financial services organisations are required to keep certain types of data for seven years, but other organisations are also subject to legal requirements to retain data. It is not, of course, simply a question of holding onto the data, but making sure that it is held in a format that can be reported on, and that specific data can be retrieved within a required deadline if a regulatory body asks for it.
Storage of unstructured data, whether it is in the form of emails or voice messages, poses particular challenges for organisations, because millions of messages need to be archived in a way that makes it possible to pinpoint and retrieve individual messages, often for compliance requirements.