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Data management is a function best filled by experts, but you still need local support

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Data management has become a priority for Chief Information Officers (CIO’s) due to the value that information delivers.  However, it remains a niche component within the greater Information and Communications Technology (ICT) landscape and the skills pool is dwindling rather than increasing. Maintaining the data management function in-house has become a challenge, and organisations are increasingly looking toward Data Management as a Service (DMaaS) to help them manage this growing and complex environment. However, while Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions can be delivered from anywhere in the world, when it comes to managing data, local service and support remain essential.

Valuable, but complex

Data is acknowledged as a de facto business currency, it is immensely valuable in driving competitive edge and helping businesses to make decisions with confidence and accuracy, as well as to reach goals faster. It is also increasingly regulated and governed by data privacy legislation, and if it is not managed properly, businesses face violating these regulations. Furthermore, organisations struggle with reduced operational efficiency, lost revenue, poor business decisions, damage to reputation, increased risk of cyberattacks and more.

However, managing data has become increasingly complex over the years. The introduction of the cloud has led to hybrid models where data is spread between various cloud providers as well as on-premises and in SaaS applications.

This has evolved organically, and as a result organisations also have a variety of data management and protection solutions that are used across this environment. This complexity stands in the way of innovation, and most IT decision-makers see storage and data management complexity as impeding digital transformation.

Don’t do it yourself

Legacy infrastructure has led to many organisations attempting to manage their complicated data environments in-house, and the perception that managed services are expensive and unsuitable has compounded this challenge. A common misconception is that data management is simply ensuring your data is stored and backed up. However, while a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach might seem attractive when budgets are tight, given the complexities of today’s data landscape, it typically turns into a costly and complex exercise that involves many more facets than just storage and backup.

There is also a significant skills gap as today’s IT infrastructure and software applications often require unique, specialised skill sets. This scarcity of IT skills means that IT heads, in small to medium enterprises (SMEs) especially, are finding it challenging to attract and retain the right talent to deliver on their strategic IT goals. Deploying and managing IT infrastructure is complex and this is where a Managed Services Partner (MSP) can play a significant role.

As a service, but locally

Many organisations have realised that creating an agile enterprise focused on delivering core business products and services is essential in their continued success and growth. Given the skills shortage across IT, one way to do this is to outsource some functions to experts, and data management is one area that can be highly beneficial to outsource.

DMaaS providers deliver the scarce and specialised skills needed and can assist in controlling costs, keeping sensitive data applications safe, delivering data recovery and disaster recovery, minimising downtime, assisting with cloud migrations and more. They can also address Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO), deliver 24-hour support services from highly trained support teams and free up internal IT staff from time consuming tasks. With a managed data service, businesses are more likely to save on costs and experience better efficiencies, as they can leverage the complete array of data management services and solutions, delivered by an expert provider in a completely scalable manner for a predictable and cost-effective monthly expense.

However, given that data is critical to business and is also unique to the organisational environment, having a local DMaaS provider is key. This will ensure the highest levels of localised support from a partner that understands the South African environment and unique challenges, while businesses can leverage industry-leading data management technologies and global best practices, without the pain and hidden costs of managing it in-house.

By Nick Wonfor, Head of Sales at DMP SA

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