Over and above leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cloud services; it has been widely acknowledged that the key building block for true digital transformation is the need for businesses to become data-driven.
Of course, this is a uniquely challenging task for almost every business.
Dealing with the Data Challenge
At the core of any data strategy lies the need to fully manage and exploit data as a strategic asset throughout its entire life-cycle across the enterprise. This has proven easy for companies born in the cloud, but inherently challenging for organisations that are not.
Becoming data-driven requires the will, capacity, resources and discipline to rethink how a business operates from people to processes as well as the technology that glues these elements together.
The Future of Data Management
While businesses wrestle with the challenge to become data-driven, data management technology providers have been hard at work making the data dots easier to join.
The most significant advance has come with the application of emergent advanced analytic, machine learning and AI techniques on the data itself, unlocking the highly optimised possibilities of augmented data management.
According to a 2021 Gartner Analytics trends report, “Augmented data management: metadata is ‘the new black.’ Organizations utilizing active metadata, machine learning, and data fabrics to dynamically connect, optimize, and automate Data management Processes will reduce time to data delivery by 30% by the year 2023.”
Data fabrics set the standard for a future of data management that promises to connect all data assets through an intelligent automated virtualised layer. While this is exciting, it is still early days and requires the integration and maturing of many varied Data management disciplines and technologies to fully realise and prove its potential.
In the meantime, market leaders in data have re-written their solution offerings to incorporate these modern capabilities by creating Cloud Native, Metadata Driven and Intelligent Data Management Platforms.
Welcome to the Data Marketplace
In our now modern digitally connected world, data is on the move at speed and at scale. Organisations need to seize this opportunity or quite simply lose their competitive advantage.
For this to happen, data needs to be organised in such a way that it is both intuitive and safe for the digital value chain (humans, applications and machines) to access.
Intelligent data management platforms are striving to achieve this by developing the building blocks to deliver on a unified “data marketplace” which elegantly and efficiently facilitate the exchange of exponentially rising amounts of data (supply) to ever-increasing interested parties seeking to extract value from it (demand).
These platforms have also been designed to be cloud-native – able to deal with the flexibility and elasticity required to handle the sheer volume in supply and demand. Organisations are looking to the cloud to modernise their applications to extend their reach and digitally engage their customers and stakeholders.
Imagine a single place where any user can access trusted and verified data, regardless of type or latency.
While the cloud creates the scale, this layer of governance creates trust. Trust, scale and automated intelligence are the most critical enablers to powering true digital transformation. Our current methods and technologies simply do not have the design and capabilities to meet this challenge.
At its most basic level, this data marketplace allows a user to look for or discover data (using technical and business metadata), verify its quality and freshness, trace its origin (lineage), confirm or assign ownership (governance), apply a policy (e.g. PoPIA) or encrypt before safely “checking out” the data for its intended use.
Analysing the Business Impact
Businesses have made significant progress in unifying their fragmented data initiatives within the confines of their organisations.
The above-mentioned marketplace builds on these efforts by simplifying the access (including integration) and sharing of this data in a uniform, standardised and scalable manner.
For example, a data marketplace can provide automated data-driven responses to digital engagement platforms to ensure the promise of a hyper-personalised customer experience is actually realised.
This “data democracy” ultimately accelerates cloud-based digital transformation, driven by trusted data.
The impact on business is only limited by our ambition and can stretch way beyond customer experience into the supply chain, operational and other business innovations, and efficiencies. Time to value for Data Scientists also dramatically improves by facilitating simplified accelerated access to trusted data, so that more time can be spent on insights and predictive models, and less time is wasted on wrangling data.
The reality is that this technology capability is imminent, yet businesses themselves have to put priority and focus on maturing their data culture in order to actually absorb it.
As implored upon us by data leaders, this requires committed leadership and enterprise-wide change around the alignment, attitude, and disciplines for treating and managing data as a valuable asset that enables and drives digital transformation.
By Marc Scheepbouwer, ASI Data Management Practice Lead at Altron Systems Integration.