Data is growing exponentially, and it’s changing the way organizations perform fundamental activities: engaging customers, developing market strategy, making business decisions, optimizing operations and identifying new revenue streams. Data is at the core of digital transformation, a holistic business strategy that leverages the Internet of Things (IoT), data-driven insights and cloud solutions to drive business strategy.

From Disruption to Opportunity

Just how quickly is digital data growing? Consider this estimate from IDC: By 2020, businesses and consumers will conduct 450 billion transactions online every day. Both the amount and the type of data will shift dramatically, according to Steen Graham, managing director of IoT channels at Intel, who spoke at the CDW Summit “Modernizing IT Infrastructure for Digital Transformation” on August 8 in Las Vegas.

In recent years, data from social media has powered the online surge, hitting peaks that we talk about in terms of zettabytes. What’s next, according to Graham? The era of the yottabyte — that’s a trillion terabytes — and it will come not from social media but from sensors in connected devices.

For businesses, all that data creates unprecedented opportunities. Manufacturers are using connected sensors to detect when equipment failures are imminent, so they can be proactive in repairing them before a costly production shutdown. Retail giants are using mobile engagement with customers to not only drive sales and increase loyalty, but also to capture vast amounts of information about those individuals that inform new products and services. Other industries, from transportation to financial services, are taking advantage of data and connected technologies to utterly disrupt the established players in the market.

Managing Data in the Cloud

While all this data empowers organizations with new insights and advantages, it also presents challenges. Businesses today need more storage, especially solutions that are easy to scale and flexible enough to accommodate dips and surges. They need networking solutions that deliver the speed and reliability to support the high-compute, high-performance agility that many organizations now require. They need software solutions to manage, share and analyze data, and they need security tools that can handle the increasing array of cybersecurity threats.

Many organizations see the cloud as an ideal solution to these challenges, and it has rapidly become a central element in their IT strategies. Cloud solutions have been in the market long enough that many organizations are well past the initial adoption phase and are starting to focus on a more interesting question: Now, how can we optimize our cloud deployment?

Best practices have emerged that can inform cloud implementations, such as the importance of careful migration strategies. Organizations are refining their use of cloud solutions to better target specific objectives, whether that is a desire to improve the customer experience or a need to achieve compliance with regulatory mandates.

It seems safe to predict that the era of Big Data is just getting started. In 10 years, even the yottabyte may seem like a modest relic from a distant era, and organizations will be figuring out how to optimize a new set of challenges and opportunities. To position your organization for the best possible outcomes, now is the perfect time to explore how data can kick start your digital transformation.

Learn more about how CDW can help align your cloud strategy to meet your digital transformation needs.

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