2020 is the Year for Enterprise Data Connectivity

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Expect this in 2020: Data will come to the forefront of enterprise priorities. The consumerization of IT and democratization of data have triggered a dramatic shift in data control across small and large organizations. Data control – once the sole domain of the CIO or CTO via the IT department – is increasingly in the hands of users.

The proliferation of applications created a shift within IT departments. Fewer and fewer companies look to IT to control data and instead, these organizations are governing data. Furthermore, with few exceptions, data is now firmly in the hands of business units given the propagation of cloud-based enterprise and functional and departmental applications. Today, organizations are continuously installing new applications to gain a competitive advantage and are establishing yet another source of data with each one. Our enterprise data truth is that digital information is now created by and accessible to the average non-technical user of applications and systems, without having to require the involvement of IT.

But what are those users – and the enterprises they represent – missing?

They’re most often missing access to the right data, when and where they need it … in part due to the data fragmentation resulting from the multitudes of departmental apps, data in the cloud, and the diversity of enterprise systems.

A Gartner forecast indicated that this year more than 40% of data-based tasks will be automated to bring higher productivity and more democracy to the data user community. Taken together, these trends further escalate the need to solve the massive data fragmentation problem, and the subsequent demand for comprehensive data access.

Consider three key tips for Enterprise Data Management success in 2020:

1. Take stock of growing data sources across your organization

The key to driving business value with data is making it available to the tools and applications that need it, with high performance and dependability. Efficiently and effectively meeting (let alone, exceeding) strategic and operational goals requires access to a myriad of data sources, such as ERP and CRM systems, marketing and sales automation platforms, enterprise databases and expense reporting systems, to name a few.

Gaining that access is no simple feat. According to The BI Survey, there’s a median number of five internal data sources needed for every business decision, so businesses need to rethink their approach to streamlining data access.

The first step toward better data access is identifying the owners of individual applications and data sources across the organization to assess data gaps and performance needs. To connect applications to a future-proof set of data sources – and maintain those connections – businesses should have a well-thought-out strategy with maintenance and scalability plans in place.

2. Invest in data science and data analytics talent

As businesses invest in and move full steam ahead with artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics, and with the advent of continuous intelligence, augmented analytics and IoT, humans are still part of the picture. Securing the right talent to access, understand, and unlock insights from the right data where and when it’s needed is instrumental for executing, managing, and scaling AI and data management initiatives. More importantly, unified data access is needed for data scientists and analysts to be successful in their jobs. Having the right data at their fingertips is a prerequisite for supporting strategic goals and driving business outcomes.

3. Address data compliance starting with data availability

With growing data privacy regulations, data compliance is no longer an issue confined to highly regulated industries, such as financial services or healthcare. Supporting data compliance initiatives means ensuring internal and external data policy compliance. Data availability plays a crucial role here, too. For instance, siloed data presents operational risk if it can’t be readily integrated into software tools for reporting, visualization, and governance. Data connectors responsible for establishing and maintaining first-rate access to data are needed for delivering a synthesized and holistic business view, and for building robust reporting mechanisms to improve and streamline compliance operations.

Clearly, the growth of advanced data technologies and the explosion of data sources makes the discipline of Data Management ever more complex. As we embark on a new decade, data connectivity will ascend as a strategic imperative for businesses to unleash their greatest asset – data. The ability to access and integrate data when and where it’s needed simply cannot be underestimated.

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