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Many organizations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have been accelerating their digital business transformation initiatives as part of an effort to continue operating at a time when it’s often not easy to  engage in person. The challenge those organizations are now facing is the data required to drive those initiatives is not as accessible, or well managed, as they now require.

In fact, a survey of 500 IT decision makers in the U.S. and United Kingdom (UK) conducted by the market research firm Vanson Bourne on behalf of SnapLogic, a provider of a data integration platform, finds some organizations are losing on average more than $1 million annually due to poor data management.

The survey finds organizations on average have 115 distinct applications and data sources across their enterprise, with almost half (49 percent) in silos that are disconnected from one another.

The good news from a managed service provider (MSP) perspective is the survey also finds more than three quarters (76 percent) of respondents indicated that their companies have increased their data budgets over the past year. The primary goals in doing this are to achieve faster and more informed decision making (70 percent), improve business operations (64 percent), accelerated innovation and new business development (63 percent), enhance customer experience (61 percent), and make the workforce more efficient and productive (57 percent), the survey finds.

Organizations need help

Nearly nine in ten respondents (88 percent) said loading data into data warehouses is a challenge, with the biggest inhibitors being legacy technology (49 percent), complex data types and formats (44 percent), data silos (40 percent), and data access issues tied to regulatory requirements (40 percent). Nearly half (48 percent) noted that data needs to be cleaned before it can become useful. On average, more than four hours per employee per week is spent on resolving issues involving missing data, duplicate data, or data that needs to be reformatted.

Nearly all (93 percent) said improvements to how they collect, manage, store, and analyze data are needed, with on average 42 percent of existing data management and warehousing processes being candidates for automation.

Data management may not be considered the sexiest of IT issues. However, it’s the issue that most often leads to the failure of IT initiatives. MSPs that have data management expertise will find there is no shortage of opportunities to help organizes manage their data. Digital business initiatives have served to increase demand for that expertise.

Of course, there are a pantheon of data management services that any MSP could provide, ranging from backup and recovery to advanced analytics. MSPs that are focused on only a narrow segment of these services would be well advised to consider expanding their portfolios. Most organizations these days are focused on business outcomes. As such, the MSP that can address the broadest range of data management issues is going to be the most compelling option for potential customers.

Data management expertise, however, is usually hard won. MSPs that put in the time and effort required to master data management fundamentals usually provide higher levels of consistent services. At a time when organizations are increasingly treating data as a strategic asset, the ability to deliver a consistent data management experience is now nothing less than priceless.

Photo: kkssr / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

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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