In 2018, businesses will continue to see demand for more and more digital services and customer touchpoints, with data as the lifeblood for making those things happen. Businesses and IT need to ensure that they are agile enough to meet this demand, and a modern IT infrastructure is an essential building block to becoming agile.

 

NetApp® technology can be the cornerstone of a modern IT infrastructure. We at NetApp are continuing our mission to change the world with data and to help customers derive more value from the world’s most valuable resource: data. Our goal is both to give customers a competitive advantage and to make the world a better place.

 

For example, I have seen the NetApp Data Fabric strategy help many organizations unleash the potential of their data by both modernizing IT infrastructure and simplifying data management capabilities. In turn, these organizations accelerate digital transformation by:

  • Using digital technology to reach customers in new ways
  • Building new data-centric digital businesses and revenue streams
  • Radically improving business operations through timely insight

It’s exciting to see that our approach provides innovative data visibility and insights, data access and control, and data protection and security. All these benefits are essential ingredients for success for businesses in 2018, across all industry sectors. I work with customers in Australia, so I use that region as an example here. But the following trends to look out for this year can certainly apply to your organization and to enterprises worldwide.

Data Security Will Be a Major Focus for Most Businesses

Data security was headline news for much of 2017, and in 2018, this trend looks set to continue in Australia and globally. The high-profile Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme will come into effect on February 22 in Australia, forcing most businesses to take a hard look at their data, and in particular personally identifiable data. It will be important for these businesses to review how they are storing and using the data and whether it’s sufficiently protected.

 

The need for adequate security is literally expanding. Businesses are collecting an increasing amount of data to get to know customers better. But you need to balance this goal with the responsibility to protect the data that your customers have entrusted to you. Otherwise, you risk huge damage to your reputation from breaches that could have been avoided.

 

As the 2017 Australian Cyber Security Centre Threat Report points out, “Defending a network from compromise is far less costly than dealing with the costs of compromise.” This warning coupled with the increasing use of cloud services means that you must remember that the responsibility of data security lies with you, not with your cloud provider. An instance of poor security controls in systems or applications, or even basic human error, is enough to undo any customer goodwill or trust that you have earned.

Healthcare Will Become Data-Rich for Better Patient Outcomes

Healthcare is certainly a sector that collects a lot of personal data. Healthcare records have also been shown to be among the most valuable customer records as a data-breach target. However, if this data is secured, it can also be leveraged to deliver unparalleled patient outcomes.

 

The combination of an aging population, rapid advances in medical technology and pharmacology, and a better-informed and litigious public means that the healthcare sector will lead the way in leveraging the power of data. High-definition 3D imagery of patients that’s accessible through various devices and at any time (bedside or in the operating room) is becoming the norm. The potential for 24/7 or “follow-the-sun” diagnostic services can accelerate patient recovery time frames and deliver savings for healthcare organizations.

 

Australia’s digital health strategy strives for every citizen to have a digital health record through the My Health Record system by the end of this year. We will continue to see this sector transform itself to take advantage of the data that’s available to improve outcomes for areas such as medicine management, mental health, aged care, and chronic disease management.

Governments Will Tap into Data to Improve Citizen Engagement

Similarly, in the public sector, digital transformation will be underpinned by the use of data in 2018. Governments continue to amass ever-increasing amounts of data about their citizens, and at the same time, constituents are demanding more and more transparency into how governments are using public resources and personal data.

 

For governments to really use data as an asset, data must be turned into actionable information that results in improved decision making or outcomes. The Digital Transformation Agency is just one example of where the Australian government has recognized the need to improve the delivery of citizen services through digital solutions. The continued investment in platforms such as myGov will mean that citizens can securely and seamlessly access government services, including employment support, child support, and welfare payments.

 

I believe that the ability to combine and analyze various data sources, possibly along with machine learning capabilities, will help steer governments to deliver better services where they’re needed most, and faster.

Data-Driven Banking Provides Strong Use Cases

As one of the most digitized industries, most financial institutions understand that their core asset is their data. Consumers are demanding increased personalization, and banks are highly capable of leveraging today’s technology to better understand their customers through differentiated services.

For example, does your bank:

  • Make it simple for you to transfer money to someone else through your mobile device?
  • Provide analysis on your transactions to help you with savings or payments?
  • Alert you to set your overseas travel notification when you arrive at the international airport?

I think it’s safe to assume that most of us use a bank’s digital services and that we have seen how banks use data to give us a more proactive and contextual customer experience. It’s also exciting to see the rate of innovation in this sector continue to accelerate as the fintech (financial technology) industry continues to grow and demonstrate agility in the Australian market, for example.

Start Keeping Up with Data-Centric Trends Now

So, is 2018 the “Year of Digital Transformation”? Or maybe it’s the “Year of Customer Experience”? Perhaps it’s the “Year of Data Security”? No matter what you call it, how you manage, access, and protect your data undoubtedly plays a critical role in this ever-distributed, dynamic, and diverse world.

 

Keep pace with these changes or even stay ahead of the trends. Learn how NetApp can help you transform your organization and gain a competitive advantage by unleashing the power of your data. You can read more in this digital transformation report recently developed in conjunction with IDC.

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Glenn McPherson

Glenn McPherson is the Managing Director at NetApp Australia and New Zealand. In this role he is responsible for defining the strategy and direction of NetApp’s local business, with senior management in both Australia and New Zealand reporting to him.

He is instrumental in driving sustained growth of the business by ensuring NetApp continues to deliver innovative and customised solutions that enable flexible, scalable and reliable data infrastructures.

Glenn joined NetApp in 2012 as Regional Sales Manager, NSW, VIC, Telstra and Service Providers. In this role he focused on driving the growth of NetApp’s business by supporting his team in responding to the needs of customers in his region; while also working to evolve NetApp’s partnerships with value-added resellers, alliance partners and service providers.

Prior to joining NetApp, Glenn worked as a regional sales manager at Cisco, where he was responsible for leading the team providing Cisco solutions to Government & Education accounts across Australia. Before this, he worked as an account director for Genesys, where he worked with service providers across the Asia Pacific region.

As a father of four, Glenn is kept busy supporting his kids’ latest sporting and educational pursuits. In his spare time, he barracks for North Melbourne Football Club, and enjoys swimming, cycling and going to the gym. He also has a green thumb, and loves to spend his weekends in the garden.