Business recovery and resilience this year will hinge heavily on how businesses assimilate, value and milk their disparate data.

The DX genie is out of the bottle and there is no going back. The pandemic has forced organizations to accelerate digital transformation—ahead of schedule or faster than ever planned for.

How must businesses evolve in the new year to achieve the top corporate priorities for resilience and growth? Here are the three ‘R’s that should weigh heavy on leaders’ minds this year …

  1. Regaining control of data
    Initially, organizations accelerated their cloud strategies to respond to the challenges of the pandemic, with the mindset of ‘just making things work’. Employees were given mobility solutions and remote access to data and applications to minimize work disruptions. Policies for creating, storing and sharing data were not always treated with the same level of priority.

    As a result, data created during the various lockdowns around the world has often been spread across a variety of end-user devices and cloud applications, in addition to—or instead of—the secure locations that should have been used.

    In the months ahead, organizations will be looking to take back control of this data to ensure that it is both protected and compliant. They will not be able to turn the clock back to the time of the centralized office network, but they will need to leverage data protection and management tools that deliver visibility and security no matter where the data is located.

    A new data strategy has to emerge, as organizations begin ‘the great data hunt’ to regain control of information that was distributed beyond the data center, to the cloud and the edge during the lockdowns. 

    With the acceleration of cloud adoption becoming a mainstay for data management, rising multi-cloud complexity will also see organizations increase their reliance on both channel partners and vendors to navigate the journey smoothly. 
  2. Resilience seen in a whole new light
    Prior to 2019, many enterprises had plans in place to deal with the loss of a data center, a major office location, or even all facilities within a given city. But few, if any, had plans to deal with a global scenario where all business premises became inaccessible at the same time.

    Moreover, the surge in cyberattacks tested business resilience capabilities even further. Ransomware attacks increased by a factor of seven in the first half of 2020, and organizations focused on urgently making operations work in the here and now.

    2021 will see them re-assess their business resilience planning to ensure that they can continue to serve their customers and employees, and that they can rapidly recover their critical services in the event of a major outage, without the requirements for physical access while staying secure. 
  3. Recovery through leading-edge tech
    In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity. We are certainly not out of the woods yet, but if the vaccines work as planned, the global economy will be on the road to recovery, albeit at varying speeds across the different industries.

    In this new year, it is evident that remote-working has been made possible with technology through cloud adoption, IT collaboration tools, deployment of optimized data protection solutions at the edge, and cloud-powered data backup and centralized data centre management.

    Going forward, 5G will definitely drive the proliferation of edge computing, enabling businesses to gain access to data, services and insights that were previously out of reach. This move to the edge, coupled with the ongoing debate on the push and pull of remote-working, will create additional data management challenges as well as new demands, with the need to manage more data with more endpoint devices residing in different locations. 

    According to a Gartner prediction, worldwide IT spending is projected to total US$3.8 trillion this year—an increase of 4% from 2020. Notably, enterprise software is expected to have the strongest rebound in 2021 (7.2%) due to the acceleration of digitalization efforts by enterprises supporting a remote-workforce to deliver virtual services such as distance learning or telehealth, and leveraging hyper-automation to ensure pandemic-driven demands are met. 

    In the data management space, with AI and machine learning becoming more pervasive, we are moving closer to a reality where bots will take a bigger role in enabling predictive insights for proactive monitoring of downtime and faults. This is a critical differentiator for organizations: IT managers will be able to take preventative action before any disruption ever occurs, allowing more time for people to focus on valuable tasks.

    As businesses seek to keep pace with the rise and complexity of multi-cloud ecosystems in the current business climate, it is necessary to find a way to centralize an organization’s data in order for AI to achieve its full potential. This leads back to the first ‘R’ above …

In summary, this year will see a major focus on data being the name of the game in the pandemic-era digital economy. To reap the full advantage of opportunities that lie ahead in the Asia Pacific region this year, organizations must strive to stay ahead on the DX curve and never look back.