Whether it’s cryptocurrency in financial services, big data in healthcare, machine learning in commerce, robotics and IoT in industry, or self-driving vehicles in transportation — data is transforming the world we live in, acting as a driver for digital transformation in all economic sectors. According to the IDC Data Age 2025 study published in 2017, the datasphere (the total volume of data stored on IT systems) will grow five times larger between now and 2025.
While human resistance remains a top barrier for successful digital transformation for Canadian businesses, these businesses are looking to the cloud. An IDC report on Canadian Datacenter Operations and Management Services shows that more Canadian organizations are using datacenter services than ever before to balance performance, security and cost. In another report, IDC points out that 35% of Canadian companies have already adopted a multi-cloud approach to gain flexibility and address any workload at their own pace.
Using cloud-based technology should be a no brainer for companies that want to tackle the challenge of exponential data growth and turn it into business opportunities. It is a gradual process, but for those Canadian companies still lagging in implementing a proper data/cloud strategy, they need to act now for three main reasons:
- In the era of the big data breach, it’s more important than ever to protect customer data: Data is now a vital asset for companies and data loss can seriously affect business continuity — one only needs to look to the recent serious data breaches that have impacted organizations in Canada, like Desjardins and Capital One, to see how high the stakes are — and customer abandonment is just the beginning. With PIPEDA being updated and businesses now on the hook for big penalties for non-compliance with the law, not developing a proper data/cloud strategy is just bad business.
- The competition is pulling ahead: If these companies overlook the premeditative measure of building their data infrastructure, they risk losing to competitors that have already found new ways of using data to boost productivity, get a better understanding of the market, or offer services that are better adapted to their customers’ needs.
- Ever-changing technology makes it harder for businesses to play catch up: Data is constantly transforming and evolving as it changes the world around us. It is not only increasing in volume, but becoming more complex — with images, audio, social media posts, maps, sensor readings, satellite data and much more. Storing and processing non-structured data thus poses a real challenge for businesses without a plan in place.
Strategic cloud-based solutions are needed and finding a partner who can support data projects from start to finish is an integral first step. The partner should be able to create a custom solution that covers the entire data journey and help businesses maintain control over their data: from the collection, storage and analysis stages, to the predictions established via automatic learning stages. This partner should also provide the infrastructure needed to use data for machine learning and allow businesses to access the full potential of artificial intelligence, echoing the consensus that together, big data and artificial intelligence are becoming one of the main pillars of an organisation’s development.
Canadian businesses are moving in the right direction when it comes to building viable data strategies, but more can be done. The stakes are high and the businesses that will win are those that act swiftly and decisively.