Combating Today’s Complex Data Landscape: Top Challenges and Solutions

Combating Challenges of Todays Complex Data Landscape resized

We're drowning in data, and the flood shows no signs of receding. Every day, massive volumes of information pour into our digital ecosystems; Microsoft reports that its users add more than 2 billion documents and emails daily to Microsoft 365 alone. Imagine how much more data exists across other digital collaboration platforms, CRMs, personal computers, and beyond—the inputs are endless and ever-expanding.

It will come as no surprise that 78% of organizations feel flooded with a vast volume, velocity, and variety of information from technology usage. The consequences of treading water amid these data challenges are dire. Crucial insights remain undiscovered, buried under digital debris. Operational inefficiencies multiply as employees struggle to locate the information they need. Data security risks escalate as proprietary data goes unmanaged and unprotected.

Organizations need intelligent strategies to stem the tide and regain control over their information resources. Fortunately, powerful solutions have emerged to tame the data chaos. In this post, we'll explore key data challenges organizations are facing and strategies to transform your unruly data overflow into a well-spring of organizational insight and power.

Today’s Top Data Challenges 

The modern data ecosystem is characterized by its complexity, presenting organizations with multifaceted challenges in data management. Understanding and addressing these challenges is the first step toward transforming data into a strategic asset.

  • Sprawling Data Repositories

It’s been said, but it’s worth repeating: businesses today are inundated by the sheer volume of data they have. Recent AvePoint research found that 64% of organizations already manage at least 1 PB of data, and 41% manage at least 500 PB of data. This inundation has many downsides: it not only strains storage capacities and budgets but can also increase your cyber risk; CISOs can confirm that the more data you hold on to, the more risk you face, as it leaves more room for vulnerability in your defenses.

Today's Organizations Manage Large Volumes of Data
  • Scattered Data

The data overload problem is compounded by the dispersion of data across various locations. The same AvePoint research found that 87% of organizations use cloud storage, but 51% also rely on self-hosted storage and another 46% maintain physical documents. This scattered data landscape not only complicates data management efforts but also impedes employee productivity; already, 47% of digital workers struggle to find information or data needed to effectively perform their jobs, which may lead to workplace frustration and even turnover risk.

  • Excessive Redundant, Obsolete, and Trivial Data

AvePoint’s research also reports that 50% of their organizational data is over 5 years old. While some of this may be due to compliance or institutional need, it’s safe to say not all of it is valuable and likely contains redundant, obsolete, or trivial (ROT) data. Take, for example, that photo album from the Christmas party your HR team uploaded to SharePoint from 2017. If no one thinks to delete it, it might be retained…forever. This hampers data usability, as valuable insights become obscured by irrelevant or outdated information, making it difficult to extract meaning from content. It’s no wonder 3 out of 4 executives do not trust their data, despite considering quality data essential to their success.

How to Tackle Your Complex Data Landscape

Mastering today's sprawling data landscape requires a proactive, multi-pronged strategy. Simply reacting to data floods as they arise will leave organizations perpetually underwater; to gain the high ground, leaders must adopt intelligent strategies to regain control over this vital information.

Here are a few steps to consider:

1. Understand your data: You can’t fix something you don’t know the root cause of. To develop targeted solutions to your business’s data challenges, you must first understand what you’re working with. Conduct a thorough assessment of your organization’s data ecosystem, including the sources, types, and volume of data being generated and stored. This understanding forms the foundation for managing and optimizing your data effectively.

2. Optimize your storage: There are a lot of reasons for data sprawl but only one solution: stop hoarding your data. Optimize your data repositories by removing unnecessary clutter. Once you understand what data you have, dispose of redundant, obsolete, and trivial (ROT) data that provides no value. This solves a host of issues, from storage overruns to compliance risks and security vulnerabilities.

3. Manage data lifecycle: No one wants to make decisions about what data to archive and delete vs what to retain on a regular basis. Instead, establish clear, consistently enforced guidelines for data creation, storage, and disposal. This strategic data lifecycle management ensures you retain only mission-critical information assets while automatically eliminating superfluous content.

4. Leverage automation and AI: Human teams alone cannot keep pace with today’s data generation. AI-powered solutions and automation will be critical tools in your data management arsenal, acting as a force multiplier with the ability to automatically classify, extract insights, and enforce governance policies on your data. This frees up both end users and information managers from the burden of data management to focus on more strategic operations, without sacrificing speed or accuracy.

Pillars of Effective Information Management

      These measures are critical components of a holistic information management strategy aimed at transforming your complex data landscape from an unruly burden into a finely-tuned engine for analytics and decision-making.

      The Time to Act is Now

      The urgency to address this challenge cannot be overstated. IDC predicts that the global data sphere will more than double in size between 2022 and 2026. To be prepared for this ballooning data, organizations must implement proactive strategies now to manage data growth effectively and leverage its potential.

      The choice for enterprises is binary - control your data or be controlled by it. While the risks of disorganized data are real, there is a far greater prize awaiting those who can take back control of their data. Organizations that glean insights from their data more rapidly than competitors will accelerate innovation, optimize operations, and better serve rapidly evolving customer needs. Instead of being a hindrance or a money pit, their data becomes a source of agility and informed decision-making.

      The road ahead is undoubtedly challenging, but with the right strategies and solutions, organizations can treat information as the strategic asset it is. By acting now, forward-looking leaders can pave the way for a more organized, efficient, and data-driven future.

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