A pair of recent reports highlight the growing need for data management or DataOps expertise that many managed service providers (MSPs) are in a better position to provide than an internal IT team.

A survey of 150 executives at companies with annual revenues of at least $250 million conducted by West Monroe, an IT consulting firm, finds 60 percent are focusing on automated, iterative data driven management. Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) are enabling making those investment to drive broader access to data and decentralized decision making, with more than half (53 percent) employing cloud infrastructure to achieve that goal.

The trouble is the survey shows that finding the right data sources (85 percent) and then actually deriving insights from data (84 percent) are the two biggest barriers that organizations need to overcome.

Furthermore, a separate survey of 525 enterprise IT executives conducted by 451 Research, a unit of S&P Global, on behalf of Immuta, a provider of data access control tools, finds over half (55 percent) of those surveyed reported that data is often stale or out-of-date by the time it is consumed or analyzed. Not surprisingly, a full 90 percent of the organizations surveyed also report not having an “optimized” DataOps strategy. However, 85 percent say they are either accelerating an existing strategy or have one that is emerging or nascent.

MSPs provide value in easing DataOps headaches

In short, most organizations are starting to realize the extent to which they have a data management problem. That’s potentially huge for MSPs because as most psychiatrists will attest to, a patient needs to be willing to change for any therapeutic intervention to succeed.

The simple truth is the way most organizations manage data borders on insanity. In theory at least, data is a valuable business asset. However, the care and feeding of those assets leaves much to be desired within most organizations. Data sets not only often conflict with one another; they are also not especially secure.

The root cause of these issue comes down to all data being of roughly equal value as far as most internal IT teams are concerned. It’s the job of an IT team to manage and store data, but no one in IT has much insight into which data sets might be more valuable than another. It’s all just data that needs to be stored and, if need be, made accessible. MSPs that specialize in data management generally have a lot more hard won experience when it comes to identifying what data matters most to a business.

The need to manage data based on its value to the business is one the primary reasons there’s so much focus these days in DataOps. Organizations are attempting to implement a set of agile best practices for automating the management of data in much the same way DevOps practices are employed to accelerate the rate at which applications are built and delivered.

The challenge is IT professionals that know how to implement DataOps are few and far in between. MSPs that can automate a set of DataOps processes that ultimately drive the training of, for example, artificial intelligence (AI) models are worth their proverbial weight in gold.

Anytime there’s a disconnect between the amount of IT skills available and demand for that expertise, it’s generally been a boon for MSPs. Right now, that impedance mismatch is approaching a zenith that represents one of those opportunities for MSPs that comes along once in a decade. MSPs that fail to seize it will soon only be able to look back with regret as other MSPs thrive and prosper simply because they recognized that at the end of the day, IT is all about the data.

Photo: Alex Cretu / Shutterstock

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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