Data Unleashed: Unlocking Powerful Business Insights
Cloud computing has offered companies the ability to access their data from anywhere in the world, on demand, providing significant cost savings and increased operational efficiency.
However, as more companies adopt cloud solutions, the volume of data being stored in the cloud continues to increase dramatically. This has resulted in the rise of data silos, where data is stored in disparate systems and is difficult to define, access or integrate. In some cases, where businesses are unable to define and categorize data, data swamps have arisen, leading organizations to struggle with effectively managing, processing and extracting value from their data.
These challenges have led many organizations to re-evaluate their cloud strategies and find ways to manage their data in the cloud.
With a wide and fragmented technology vendor landscape — from the large hyperscalers like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, to smaller point solution providers — businesses have a diverse range of choices.
However, the downside to these myriad options is that these vendor products often have difficulty integrating and communicating with each other. Coupled with data silos, it then becomes even more difficult for businesses to extract the full value of their data.
Importance of a Unifying Data Platform
The pandemic only accelerated the need for many to do business online, but an immediate full cloud transformation is just not realistic for many businesses that had already invested heavily in on-premise infrastructure.
The number of customers who have raised this issue has been increasing. They’ve made huge investments into multiple vendors only to realize they need to invest even more resources into cleaning up the data for use across technology systems, reducing replicated data and ensuring data semantics are not lost in the replication of data from one system to another.
And the solution? Businesses need a unifying data platform that integrates core capabilities, including data integration, data catalog and data governance. The platform needs to bring all their data together, regardless of where it resides, while maintaining data semantics to provide a single source of truth.
The latest approach taken by the leading platforms for successfully wrangling and extracting value from disparate data, includes keeping data where it resides while performing its semantics functions via a data abstraction layer.
This architectural approach is used when building out an enterprise or business data fabric (see image below), limiting data movement or replication while allowing for stronger data governance and security.
This business-friendly data experience is the only way for businesses to ensure the consistency and reliability of data while integrating data from different sources to provide a holistic view of the information.
In a world where data is one of the most valuable assets, ensuring data semantics are preserved across data sources is critical for businesses to maximize the value of their data and drive business outcomes.
On-Premise Is Not Dead
The rise of cloud native companies has disrupted the traditional data management landscape, but the persistence of on-premises data warehousing and the growing demand for hybrid solutions speak to the nuanced and complex reality of data management.
The evolution of data management, from data marts to data lakehouses, has created new opportunities for businesses and cloud native companies. It is important for technology vendors to acknowledge that businesses face unique requirements and constraints that shape their data management strategies, and a one-size-fits-all approach is simply not feasible.
Many customers are choosing to go with a hybrid data management model as they move to the cloud given the flexibility and scalability it allows. Businesses need options to manage their data in a manner that best suits their specific needs and requirements.
The ability to store data where it makes the most sense or is required by law, whether that be in the cloud or on-premises, is essential for businesses to drive business outcomes.
At the heart of any good modern data management model, is a unified data platform that provides businesses flexibility with governance to unlock the full potential of their data.
A data layer to access internal and external data regardless of where it is stored, with capabilities like quality, federation and privacy while maintaining business semantics and real-time access, instead of data simply being thrown into a data lake with its potential never fully harnessed.
Data Is an Asset Until It Becomes a Liability
When searching for a vendor to build out a business data fabric with an underlying data platform, that ideal vendor will:
- Empower intelligent applications: Make it easier for businesses to incorporate cutting-edge technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence into their automated business processes.
- Allow self-service data access: Make enterprise applications ever more powerful by being able to access data and insights from all relevant data sources.
- Protect and govern: Inherently protect organizations against unauthorized access through the latest approaches to identity services, monitoring and governance.
Businesses must evaluate their needs and choose a fitting unified data platform to build out their business data fabric. A unified data platform should simplify the data estate, harmonize mission-critical data and provide a business-friendly data experience to support a business’ growth vision.
For further reading on unleashing the power of data, visit this blog by Juergen Mueller, CTO and a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE.