By Samer Saber
KUWAIT: Digital Transformation is a key pillar for Kuwait as it adopts digital technologies to escalate its services, drives the economy and improves quality of life, while increasing operational efficiency and performance of key sectors. Kuwait’s ICT sector is estimated to be one of the emerging markets of the future. Global Data valued the global ICT market in Kuwait at $20.61 billion in 2021 and predicts it to grow at a CAGR of 8.2 percent. In 2026, it is expected to touch $30.58 billion.
Data is an essential element of digital transformation process and can be used to create benchmarks and baselines for the journey to transformation, it is the foundation of an intelligent business. But data, data consumers and the business expectations of data have changed. These shifting realities call for a higher level of data maturity and the right technologies to achieve better outcomes and digitally differentiate. As every organization races to transform, there are five key shifts that are converging in today’s data era:
1. Exponential growth of structured and unstructured data
Fueled by an abundance of smart devices and IoT sensors, worldwide data creation has been soaring for more than a decade. A study from IDC cites that from 2021-2025, new data creation will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 percent, resulting in approximately 175Zettabytes (ZB) of data creation by 2025. To put this into context, a single zettabyte is equivalent to a trillion gigabytes or as Wikipedia describes it, ‘a zettabyte is so large that it would take about a million supercomputers (or a billion powerful home computers) to store this amount of data.’ Add to that, more data forms- including unstructured and streaming data types like loose files, PDFs, photos, audio and video clips -are growing at an unprecedented rate and organizations are finding it hard to extract value from the data they’re collecting. The same IDC report states that 80 percent of worldwide data will be unstructured by 2025.
Finding a solution for managing unstructured data has been a challenge. Next-generation applications that could handle rapidly growing unstructured data typically require the extreme performance of all-flash storage, but budget pressures have made it hard for organizations to commit to the new that these powerful systems require. Businesses will need powerful scale-out file storage solutions that are easy to scale and use, no matter how much unstructured data your environment must manage.
2. Emerging technologies are sparking a new era of intelligence at scale
Edge computing, 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are transforming how data is being collected, processed and used. For the first time in history, we’re meeting the explosion of data with intelligent infrastructure, software and algorithms to rapidly turn it into actionable information. This data can be used to create new value and drive better user experiences at the edge. There’s a symbiotic relationship between the advanced, connected technologies being deployed to thrive in the digital economy and the wealth of new data waiting to be uncovered. Likewise, there’s a symbiosis between success with edge technologies and data management. By enabling organizations to act on data near the source, edge technology can both improve efficiency and help create new experiences. Coupled with AI, the edge will change how machines share and react to data – and this is where businesses will find the opportunities to create new value.
3. Decentralized data
The adoption of emerging technologies leads to more distributed locations where data originates. As data’s center of gravity rapidly moves toward the edge, data is increasingly being stored, processed and acted on closer to its source. But as more functions take place at the edge, you need to manage data differently and consistently -from the core to across edge and hybrid clouds. That requires changes to your computer, network, storage and application architectures.
4. Rising consumer expectations
Today’s consumers are more empowered than ever and are demanding more data-rich, personalized, real-time experiences. In the past, you could take days to come up with new data insights, but today that’s far too long. The increasing reliance on AI and ML to make real-time decisions in a distributed environment can strain even the most advanced data management strategies. Most organizations don’t have the IT capabilities to keep up because their data management is fit for an outdated world where insights and outcomes can be delivered in hours or days. To be able to rapidly turn data into insights, organizations must evolve their expectations and data processing capabilities.
5. Data breaches vs regulatory environment
Cybersecurity threats are more sophisticated, and the number of data breaches are skyrocketing. Consequently, the regulatory environment is evolving, mandating more resilient data security, privacy and governance. As more data is collected, stored and processed in multiple locations, the attack surface for malicious activity also grows, making compliance with global data laws and regulations more complex. In addition, customers want to do business with organizations they can trust with their data.These trends underscore the ways data users and consumers have changed, and how organizations are adapting to stay relevant.
With such a tremendous influx of data, it is critical to be business-ready faster, accelerating data movement across the multi-cloud landscape – turning insights into actions and driving speedy outcomes. Today we have zettabytes of data at our fingertips every second, but also intelligent compute infrastructure, software and algorithms to rapidly turn that data into meaningful insights. Now more than ever, organizations need to rethink data management if they are to become an intelligent business with a leadership position in the data era. Note: Samer Saber is General Manager, Kuwait at Dell Technologies.