woman working on her laptop.To some extent, the term resilience has become 2020 shorthand for “surviving a global pandemic.” But as technical professionals know well, the goal of resilience long predates the cataclysms we’ve faced this year. As Mark Russinovich, CTO, Microsoft Azure, states: “Resilience is the ability of a system to fail gracefully in the face of—and eventually recover from—disruptive events.”

For an organization, building resilience means looking at every part of the business and preparing it to thrive in the face of change. There have been many conversations this year about resilience as it relates to keeping employees and customers safe, enabling remote work, and sustaining revenue. Let’s discuss how data is a crucial aspect of the organization when it comes to ensuring business agility and creating a sustained competitive advantage.

Data is a valuable resource that contributes to all six dimensions of resilience identified by Boston Consulting Group:

  • Protect and grow the top line. Integrated data drives: 1) better sales decisions; 2) targeted marketing; and 3) personalized customer journeys.
  • Develop agile operations. Dynamic data helps organizations identify changes and respond to them quickly.
  • Enable people. Accessible data empowers people to work smarter and more flexibly.
  • Accelerate data and digital platforms. Continuously available and fault-tolerant data based on cloud infrastructure helps keep organizations viable, while fully functional data lakes enable rapid innovation.
  • Enhance cybersecurity. Keeping data secure is essential to resilience, and data also provides actionable intelligence for improving cybersecurity.
  • Strengthen financials. Data informs cash management and other financial liquidity policies.

Let’s dive deeper into these areas to better understand how organizations can upgrade their data estate so they’re more prepared to weather future disruptions.

Migrating data to the cloud supports resilience

This year’s sudden move to remote work and digital customer experiences has driven home the value of cloud infrastructure. Wherever you are in your migration journey, taking the next few steps on that path will garner more benefits.

Capitalize on the value of your data

Pulling legacy data out of organizational silos and migrating to Azure makes it more accessible. Azure also stimulates growth by unlocking the possibilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning for processing and deploying data.

Improve data security and disaster recovery

Your valuable data needs to be protected from malicious actors like cybercriminals and natural disasters such as hurricanes, power outages, and, yes, pandemics. Azure can deliver much stronger security than smaller on-premises datacenters, ensuring that your data is highly available to authorized users and no one else.

For more detail on the tasks, tools, and resources that will help you achieve these goals, see Cloud Migration: A Guide to Building Resilience.

Insights and analytics drive business performance

When changes hit and things get bumpy, your organization needs to know what’s happening in the moment and get useful direction on how to respond.

Make informed decisions quickly

During disruptions, circumstances may be changing rapidly, requiring frequent pivots to keep the organization running. Using the same analytics system for all your data across both data warehouses and big data analytics systems helps you quickly identify patterns and trends.

Unify your organization’s data

A single analytics service can handle all your data warehousing and big data needs, allowing data engineers, data scientists, and database administrators to collaborate. You can consolidate data governance while still supporting personalized, custom dashboards.

Reduce costs using data analysis and generate proactive insights

You can go from hypothesis to validation in minutes by applying intelligent analytics. Use predictive models and advanced analytics to optimize your business processes and find new opportunities.

You’ll find more guidance on planning and implementing your analytics program in Building Insights and Analytics: A Guide to Building Resilience.

This intersection between data and resilience has so much potential for helping organizations empower their workforces, stay connected to customers, and differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

I hope you’ll join us for the Resilience at Work Virtual Summit on Thursday, February 4, 2021, to carry on the conversation. You’ll hear from the Microsoft leadership team and EY about how they use data to keep their organization resilient and agile.