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5 Ways DBAs are Poised to Play a Key Role in Digitally Focused Business


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According to Gartner’s 2016 CIO Agenda Survey, CIOs are moving from a systems-focused view to a platform-focused view in 2016, with digital revenue expected to more than double over the next year. Digitization will bring many benefits to the business, including increased revenue from better operations (expected by 66% of CIOs) and more business through digital channels (expected by 48% of CIOs).

With the growing volume of digital data and its strategic value to the business, DBAs can also play an essential role in this digital transformation. Here’s how:

  1. Reducing the talent gap: DBAs will continue to be a high demand job and a difficult role to fill. As more and more companies build their futures around data, the role of the DBA will evolve. They will need skills beyond simple administration tasks, such as business intelligence and performance-tuning expertise. They will also need a deeper understanding of data applications, data analytics and data models, while helping their organizations appreciate the value of the data they have and how best to use it. As DBAs broaden their skills, the talent gap will decrease. If they don’t, the result will be an even bigger problem for CIOs.  
  2. Security: The digital world brings increased risks, compliance challenges and more. According to Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report, there were an estimated 2,122 confirmed data breaches in 2014, resulting in $400 million in losses. Juniper Research estimated that the annual cost incurred from malicious attacks and breaches worldwide will reach $2 trillion by 2019 and that breaches within the U.S. will account for 80%-90% of that figure. As the risks grow, DBAs can no longer view security as “someone else’s problem.” The most successful DBAs will become data security architects, building security into their databases from the start. Some will take even further steps to pursue information security certifications such as the CISSP.
  3. Performance: As businesses increase their dependency on the cloud and an online-everything model, the desire for instant gratification will only grow—putting more pressure on database performance than ever before. DBAs will have to design for scale knowing when to select traditional, cloud or hybrid deployments, further complicating issues of troubleshooting and performance. While other admin positions become commoditized, DBAs will need to become more skilled and experienced to deliver on business expectations.
  4. Collaboration and alignment: The digitization of business is blurring the lines between traditional IT silos, roles and titles, requiring teams to collaborate cross-functionally to ensure optimal data utilization and business performance. More and more, forward-looking companies - especially those in regulated industries - are hiring chief data officers (CDO) to be accountable for data quality, security and lifecycle management, and to ensure organizations get the most out of their corporate data assets.
  5. Automation: As the pressure to reduce downtime increases, IT will need to move faster and reduce the risk of manual errors. In response, more DBAs will embrace DevOps tools and processes that improve the communication and collaboration between development and IT, and ultimately improve the speed, frequency and reliability of database changes.

Digital data infrastructure is growing at exponential rates. Yet despite ongoing innovation, these systems still rely on talented people to make them run smoothly. Enterprises that view DBAs as a strategic players in this transformation will achieve significant competitive advantage and differentiation. Those that don’t may find themselves on the outside of digital business, looking in.


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