Why modernising the data estate could be transformative for businesses
In today’s world, businesses and enterprises of all sizes are increasingly reliant on data. Whether this is data from inside a business, or external data that influences the business, data is a critical resource for business leaders. The data environment is changing rapidly. Technological advances and new cloud-based platforms are giving businesses access to more data than ever before. However, in order to use this data constructively, enterprises need to make it clean, organised with clear lineage, and accessible in a way that is easy to consume – for many this means modernising their data estate.
What is data estate modernisation and what does it mean for businesses?
The ultimate goal of data estate modernisation is to make a business’ use of data productive and effective by providing insights about the business. It should be the first step for businesses that want to embrace new technologies effectively, but – as it stands – many enterprises are not able to make the most out of their data.
Put simply, data modernisation is the transferral of disjointed data – process transactions, document images, invoices and even emails, for example – from within or outside of a business into a form that can be interrogated to derive insights. It means having an efficient way of moving data onto a platform where it can be easily accessed, analysed, and harnessed by enterprise technology. Data modernisation can be applied to unstructured data – data that’s not fixed in any forms – such as data from social media, emails and recorded voice. It can also apply to structured data, such as bank transactions, customer details, sales orders, inventory movement records and addresses.
Once data is moved into a modern data estate it must then be made available as data products or analytics services that are easier for business owners to consume. Clean data is essential to draw meaningful insights from reports and analysis, or trend and pattern analysis – and makes drawing clear insights much easier.
What are the steps towards a modern data estate?
There are a number of steps that form part of the process. Firstly, it is essential to analyse an enterprise’s applications, databases and infrastructure. This then helps to identify and catalogue data objects and data sources. It also helps to clarify the platform(s) and tools being used to extract, collect and store data, as well as the analytics tools and data services that then use it. The key is pulling together a full picture of the data a business needs, has available and uses.
We analyse data sources from within and outside of organisations, and understand what data is important and valuable to an organisation. This means we can architect the data estate on a suitable platform to ingest data periodically, in near real time or on demand, as required. The data can then easily be moved to its destination whether that’s an operational data store, data warehouse, or directly to analytics tools.
But what does modernising the data estate actually mean for businesses? By streamlining and organising their data, companies can make more meaningful sense of it. It enables informed decision making – critical for businesses of all sizes – and sets enterprises up for success when it comes to digital transformation.
What are the key benefits of data estate modernisation?
So why take the leap and modernise your data estate? There are so many advantages to a modern data estate, we’ve picked out three key benefits:
- Provides accessible and reliable data to draw insights from
- In turn, enables informed decision making which moves businesses forward
- Lays the foundations for embracing intelligent technology which helps to future proof businesses
How does data estate modernisation help overcome business challenges?
Nearly all of the businesses that we work with have data coming in from multiple sources, whether that’s from internal processes and systems, suppliers or customers. All this data is coming in at a fast pace and must be interpreted. However, it often needs to be “liberated” from Enterprise Systems (e.g. ERP, CRM), before it can be of use. So, businesses are faced with a challenge. They must ensure this data is clean and trusted, and build clear pipelines for it to be moved, transformed into a new format, and aggregated. By modernising their data estate, businesses are better equipped to manage this data, and can quickly meet increasing expectations for change when.
What’s next for data modernisation?
In the future, more and more businesses will use modern data estates to structure and analyse their data efficiently and effectively. Enterprises should also use a data modernisation roadmap to indicate what further data a business may need, as well as potential blockers to moving forward with new projects and technologies.
But why is data estate modernisation so important? The significance of data estate modernisation is in how it provides a platform to support not only decision making, but also as an enabler for digital transformation. A well architected and modern data estate is essential for efficient and effective reporting and analytics. It also puts organisations in a better position to consider business composability and intelligent process automation and orchestration.