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Speed is the most important factor in sports or business. We all know that when determining an Olympic winner, speed can make all the difference between winning the coveted gold medal or settling for a silver or bronze. Businesses are no different. Companies that move fast are the ones that grab more market share, make more money, and earn the gold. Data provides a true competitive advantage to organizations, and arming employees with the right data at the right time can determine if they win or lose.
In a December 16, 2015, Forrester Research report called “Create A Road Map For A Real-Time, Agile, Self-Service Data Platform” authors Noel Yuhanna and Michele Goetz state, “Data bottlenecks create business bottlenecks. Business stakeholders at the executive and line-of-business levels need data faster to keep up with customers, competitors, and partners.”
Data is both a boon and a bane. It is a boon because it provides powerful information about business performance, automates business processes, and improves employee productivity. However, as organizations grow, data becomes a bane because it is often siloed across multiple disparate systems –ERP, CRM, cloud, and now in big data – to the extent that it has begun to impact employee productivity. As business users continue to expend valuable time reaching into multiple systems to piece together the relevant information, business processes and performance have slowed to a crawl.
Take Voyanta for example, a data services firm based out of UK that caters to real estate companies. Since Voyanta is in the business of selling real-estate data, they are always looking for ways to get the data it collects into the hands of its customers faster. “Our customers demand that their data is available for reporting and checking very shortly after it has been uploaded to the system,” said Gordon Griffin, CTO at Voyanta.
Unclogging the System
The only way out of this quagmire and to deliver data to employees quickly. This can be accomplished by leveraging a technology that will abstract them from the underlying data mess, yet be capable of providing meaningful data in a consistent format and in real-time.
“Applications should focus only on the application logic and user interface, not on data management or data integration functions. Decoupling the two helps move to a real-time data management platform faster and with less effort,” says Forrester analysts Yuhanna and Goetz in their report.
However, this calls for the development of modern data architectures that can enable a fast data strategy. According to the Forrester report, “Enterprise architects must revise their data architecture to meet the demand for fast data. In-memory data grids, data virtualization, and NoSQL data sources are must-have technologies to effect the transition from data museums to a world of contextual data services.”
Data Virtualization as an Accelerator of Fast Data Strategy
Data virtualization technology has long been acknowledged for its ability to access the disparate data stored in various formats and sources, and virtually combine them into relevant information required. In fact, by delivering the data in a consistent format in real-time to business users, companies such as Voyanta have been using data virtualization to accelerate their fast data strategy.
Voyanta’s Gordon says, “Data virtualization creates virtual databases that handle the data transformations on-the-fly. Since the data is pulled directly from the source databases in real-time, there is no delay in reload or refresh; potentially the data is available instantly. With data virtualization, you create the transformations, and then you typically get your answers immediately. Development is quicker and developers do not lose the flow.”
Do you want to improve your organization’s competitive edge by gaining control of your data? If so, is fast data strategy on your radar?