Navigating the age of data with database as a service

The sheer volume of data created by organisations today is staggering. Once upon a time, a petabyte was considered a remarkable amount of data, the equivalent of roughly 20 million tall filing cabinets, or 500 billion pages of standard printed text. These days, however, it’s becoming increasingly common for organisations to have tens, or even hundreds of petabytes of data to manage across multiple databases, requiring significant amounts of storage and resources.

As economies open up again, businesses are raring to accelerate transformation and leverage new opportunities to make up for the last two years of slowed progress. More importantly, leaders are setting their sights on playing the long game, ensuring that post-pandemic momentum in transformation and innovation is sustained, and does not falter.

The massive data sprawl generated in Asia-Pacific presents a strategic opportunity for enterprises to do just that, but the crux lies in how businesses will filter out the noise to hone in on core data, which can drive actionable and valuable insights for long-term innovation. This can help organisations competitively differentiate themselves in a disruptive and data-focused economy, and seize emerging opportunities in the new post-pandemic landscape.

However, when databases are managed by outdated systems, they become harder to maintain and increasingly burdensome. Ultimately, they end up plagued with inefficiencies, with slow response times and inconsistent performance. Given that databases play an integral role in day-to-day business functions and in driving future transformation, it is imperative that companies find new ways to tackle database management.

Databases simplified

According to IDC research, approximately 75% of database deployments remain on-premises. This figure comes as no surprise, given that organisations want to keep their most critical IP close by. Yet as businesses accelerate digital transformation, which in turn triggers exponential data growth, database as a service (DBaaS) offers a simplified way of configuring and maintaining an organisation’s databases, enabling automation and self-service regardless of where the database is running.

As we advance further towards a digital-first business landscape, here are five key reasons organisations across Asia-Pacific need to consider DBaaS:

  1. Reduced downtime: Security is an ever-increasing threat for businesses, with the number of cyberattacks having risen dramatically since the pandemic. In legacy environments, patching security vulnerabilities can result in lengthy periods of downtime, equating to approximately US$35,000 per hour in losses from productivity, revenue loss, and downstream impact for a composite organisation. Such disruptions are worryingly prevalent too: In Asia-Pacific, 84% of organisations in 2020 suffered an unforeseen downtime or outright data loss in the last 12 months.

    But DBaaS helps overcome these challenges. For example, China’s Jiangsu Province Hospital of Chinese Medicine saw an opportunity to automate its databases as a way to improve business continuity and data recovery, enabling the hospital to streamline its data management, and enhance productivity by at least three times to optimise hospital operations.
  1. Slash budgets and resourcing: IDC research indicates that almost three quarters (73%) of organisations use different tools and processes for their on-premises databases, versus their cloud databases. Not only does this result in companies purchasing redundant tools and having to maintain them, it also results in staffing inefficiencies as database managers spend hours creating and maintaining databases. In fact, a Forrester TEI study reports that database administrators often need to work overtime and on weekends to keep up. Yet by simply migrating to a simpler database management solution, this overtime was slashed by up to 50% for a composite organisation.

    Switching to DBaaS can also do wonders for cost optimisation, as it allows organisations to scale back on hardware costs, and provision only for what they need at any one point in time. In addition, a composite organisation can see a return on investment of 291% over three years if they migrate to DBaaS. For India’s RBL Bank, a private sector bank in India with over 8.49 million customers, leveraging DBaaS allowed them to slash provisioning times by 90% and replicate databases for key customers more efficiently — all while saving 90Tb of database storage. More importantly, this accelerated RBL’s time to market for new services from 2-4 days to 4-6 hours, and eliminated IT downtime, enabling the bank to serve its customers more effectively and efficiently.
  2. Improve talent acquisition: The Forrester study also found that companies struggled to hire technologists with the specialised skill sets to maintain legacy databases. Each time a veteran employee leaves or retires, it prompts a knowledge leak, creates a transition gap, and causes quality issues. Now, with Generation Z entering the workforce – a generation of digital natives who expect technology to work rapidly and seamlessly – organisations must be able to offer the most flexible and easy-to-use cloud-based technologies to attract and retain the next generation of talent.

    Not only are younger, more digitally savvy employees now entering the workforce, but the labour market across Asia-Pacific is tightening, resulting in organisations planning salary budget increases for 2022. Talent acquisition and retention is becoming increasingly competitive, and companies who refuse to let go of more outdated or clunky systems will fail to attract the best and brightest.
  3. Gain rich customer insights: Consumer intelligence is playing an increasing role in strategic business decisions as organisations aim to stay one step ahead of ever-changing consumer behaviours. Databases are a gold mine of customer data, and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), can help businesses make sense of this data. These technologies can detect patterns and anomalies that would be impossible to detect manually.

    However, AI and ML technologies work best in the cloud, and deploying them across on-prem databases wouldn’t work in the same way. For businesses that want to track real-time customer behaviours and stay on top of trends, migrating databases to the cloud and deploying DBaaS not only improves efficiencies, but provides invaluable customer insights to drive better decision-making.
  4. Fast-track digital transformation: According to IDC’s 2022 predictions, at least half of the Asia-Pacific economy will be based on, or influenced by digital by the end of this year. Furthermore, direct investments in digital transformation will grow to a CAGR of 18% across 2022-2024, comprising 70% of all ICT investments by the end of 2024.

    Not only does deploying DBaaS help to improve operational efficiencies, it also helps businesses digitally transform across other areas of the business. App development teams in charge of building new systems and processes need to work off the most up-to-date, live databases – not duplicate versions that have been rendered obsolete. Deploying DBaaS will thus pave the way for unified and streamlined digital transformation across the rest of the organisation.

Databases of the future

Databases are critical to company success, but as we tread further into the age of data, data volumes will only continue to explode. This exponential data growth will drive many organisations to modernise and simplify their database management systems — whether on-premises, in the private cloud, or in the hybrid cloud — finding new ways to improve efficiency, save costs, and improve the employee experience.