Data Management No Longer an IT Issue

Coined by economists to be the new oil driving the new economy, data has now been enshrined as the most valuable asset. How essential, then, is it for enterprises to adopt a strategy and framework that will manage their data?

Oracle's Chung Heng Han, senior vice president for Systems in JAPAC and EMEA, believes companies must do more than manage data. To be an industry leader, you would need to "capitalize on your data; create, understand, control and use your data better than your competition."

Han noted that it is urgent for CDOs to have the right framework now. The reason: the exponential growth in technology.

"According to some reports, to spread a message to 50 million users, it would take the telephone 75 years. Fast forward to the world wide web, and that [figure] dropped to 4 years. Now, with interactive games like Pokemon Go, [it is] just 19 days. New generation mobile networks using 5G will take 10 seconds to download a movie," he said.

In a world where there are 27 billion active connected devices, with 127 new ones coming online every second, data storage is becoming a considerable challenge. It is growing four times faster than the world economy. To harness its power, companies need a next-generation data management platform.

Restart Not Necessary

The next-generation data management platform needs to treat data differently. It needs to see data as a liquid core asset - not a static one -- that can be quickly ingested, stored in the most appropriate data formats and locations, and easily accessed by any analytical processing engine.

The data architecture should be flexible, scalable, high-performance, integrated, and secure. But this does not mean you need to create an entirely new enterprise data platform, according to Han.

"The core components are still the same - applications, middleware, database, analytics, and systems. However, when we build the new data architecture on top of the existing framework, we must be aware that there are new access points like mobile and IoT for collecting data today, which did not exist 15 years ago. There is also a huge abundance of data that comes in a variety of formats today. So, the question is, how can we integrate them all?"

Oracle’s Big Data SQL, an end-to-end big data and AI platform, looks at all data in unison and integrates them to maximize its value. While its Exadata system processes the relational data in its database, its Big Data Appliance ingests the unstructured or semi-structured data using its built-in machine learning capabilities. It is the combination of these two systems that, Han emphasized, creates tremendous value.

While any digital platform that covers these essential tenets will be able to provide data management, Han contends that there are not many that can incorporate over 40 years of best practices into their technology. That result is, according to Han, Oracle's data fusion platform that unifies relational and big data to enable quick, actionable insights, named Cloudera's best platform for big data last year.

"When we talk about digital transformation, a lot of times, we focus on the technology. But what's really important is the customer, the partner, and the employee experience,” continued Han. “These three stakeholders are the reason why a business is formed in the first place. So, that must be the most important layer. We then have community management around the new architecture, supported by governance and security. And because the new deployment model is cloud-based, we see hybrid IT as the new digital platform.”

Data Governance Goes Native

With GDPR now in full force, Han emphasized that data protection and privacy will need to be a top concern for all enterprises. Besides incorporating ethics into data governance, companies need new adaptive security models that use predictive analytics.

This is important as data breaches, and cyber-attacks continue to plague users, with a cyber attack occurring every 39 seconds. Perimeter security measures often fail because of a lack of internal governance and prevention. As a result, Han argued that companies needed to put more emphasis on data security than on perimeter measures.

"When the 'barbarians' have breached the gates, you must protect the core," mused Han. It is one of the reasons why the company makes encryption native for its products. He also pointed out that very importantly, this built-in functionality does not compromise system performance.

Autonomous Future

For companies who do not follow patching updates because they are reluctant to schedule costly downtimes, Han warned that they are exposing themselves to unnecessary security risks and attacks. Especially since patches could be done at much faster speeds at Oracle.

Ultimately, the future of the cloud and database would be the autonomous database, said Han. Self-driving and self-tuning, operating on machine learning, these future databases will patch themselves without human intervention.

No more excuses for unsafe practices and gaps in data capabilities then.