Intelligent Issue 01 | Page 15


// TECH TRENDS // increased appreciation of how data can help businesses recover and thrive will be essential .

Nearly two thirds ( 65 %) of SMB decisionmakers say that their post-COVID-19 recovery strategy is being informed by the data they have stored about their business . The pandemic has sparked a reassessment of the value of business data among SMB decision-makers : more than half ( 55 %) say they recognise the value of their business data more than before the pandemic .
We spoke to Alessandra de Paula , Director of Channel Marketing EMEA at Seagate Technology , about the research . She offers advice and insights for SMBs looking to improve their data management .
What were the key infrastructure challenges for SMBs during the shift to remote working ?
This is an area we ’ ve been keenly exploring and in our recent global survey of SMB decision-makers it was striking how the most common challenges unearthed came down to two basic principles .
Firstly , 17 % of business leaders reported a lack of centralised storage – this really is data management 101 . A lack of centralised storage makes it harder to secure data , harder to share and utilise data across a company , and puts files at risk of permanent loss if local copies are damaged .
The second underlying issue was companies lacking a data storage policy ( 31 %), or in other words a structured set of rules that clarify how a company acquires , stores and uses its data . Without these rules , staff cannot be expected to manage data properly , so firms risk security breaches and data losses as well as missing out on growth opportunities .
Our research also found that 38 % of respondents reported difficulty accessing files when working from home – ultimately something that is a by-product of lacking centralised storage and a robust data storage policy .
Taking this together , it ’ s clear that many SMBs are struggling to capitalise on the value of their data because of very fundamental infrastructure challenges around centralised storage options and data storage policies . If left unaddressed , these issues will stand in the way of employee productivity and ultimately business growth . Fortunately , there are clear steps businesses can take to rectify this .
Based on your research , how did SMBs respond to these challenges ?
Today ’ s challenging business environment has spotlighted the universal value of data to businesses around the world . Why ? Because firms that aren ’ t utilising their data are at risk of missing out – on potential revenue streams , cost savings , customer satisfaction and more . Yet across the globe , we ’ ve seen a lot of variation between countries in how they responded to the crisis .
Looking at the UK , a little more than half of SMBs are currently tapping into data insights to inform their recovery from COVID-19 ( 53 %). During the early peak of the crisis , 45 % of UK SMB decision-makers said they focused on making it easier to access data remotely and 50 % agreed that their employees have a better understanding of the importance of IT and data infrastructure and policy since working from home . Overall , these numbers are promising in that they point towards greater understanding of the value of data among UK SMBs , although there ’ s still work to be done .
On the other hand , Chinese SMBs stood out for their forward-thinking approach to data-led growth . A total of 83 % of Chinese respondents confirmed they ’ re using data to inform their COVID recovery , meaning they rely on information and robust data management policies to ensure a stable future . Additionally , 60 % made it easier to access data and 74 % think their employees have a better understanding of its importance – demonstrating a proactive intent to keep improving .
On the whole , the research was heartening in that it showed SMBs were resilient to the challenge and that many now better recognise the value of data for their company ’ s future . This is a real positive , but we still see room for improvement for SMBs when it comes to the basics of data management . In the UK especially , SMB leaders should look to
Alessandra de Paula , Director of Channel Marketing EMEA at Seagate Technology

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