Businesses are driven by delivering the best possible customer experiences. What customers want and expect from businesses has changed dramatically in this unprecedented environment. Food delivery, e-commerce and brick and mortar retailers were the most public examples of just how fast businesses needed to adapt. Without access to trustworthy data from anywhere in their networks, the feats of these businesses would not be possible.
Data management has become more complex in the expanding digital economy. Data is generated from more devices and end-points simultaneously across a larger space. Data lakes and data warehouse solutions were sufficient to overcome most management issues, but accelerated business change has made it difficult for companies to respond effectively when new trends emerge in the market.
A new approach to data management with the speed, agility and scalability to keep up is data fabric. Digital leaders are unlocking enterprise data, connecting it like a woven fabric that blankets the entire network environment. This advanced ecosystem processes, manages, and stores the data generated so that it is accessible for the advanced analytics that contribute to better forecasting, product development, and sales and marketing optimization.
Consumers have changed. Can businesses keep up?
Companies are determined to quickly identify what their customers want, analyzing the data they generate during the customer journey, and positioning supply chains to address demand. A study of how COVID-19 was affecting consumers found that people in Southeast Asia are buying more groceries online, have tried new apps that they will continue using, are buying more from reliable brands, and are increasing at-home habits. Without the ability to identify these trends with their own customers and reorient operations, stores would not be able to keep up.
Three factors sabotage these capabilities: internal silos, high volumes of unprocessed data, and poor data quality. Unintended silos from the adoption of more applications and migration to the cloud make it increasingly difficult to share data between systems and environments. More applications also mean more data in various formats, and time devoted to tasks other than analysis, such as finding and standardizing data. Data integrity concerns stemming from organizational issues are also having a negative impact on most businesses’ decision making, leading to wasted time, resources and a diminished ability to serve customers. It is estimated to be 10 times as costly to get work done when it relies on data with underlying flaws.
A data fabric covers all data use.
An emerging data and analytics trend identified by Gartner, called data fabric, can help organizations overcome these challenges. It is a unified environment that helps organizations manage the collection, governance, integration, and sharing of data. By allowing fast, frictionless access and sharing of trusted data between internal and external applications, its value is realized and transformation can proceed without roadblocks. If businesses can access data from across a distributed network environment for advanced analytics, these insights can be used to optimize supply chains and improve customer engagement. Complying with a growing number of data regulations is also made simpler for internal teams. Data fabric delivers scalability that future-proofs data management infrastructures to manage greater data volumes at the pace of change. The digital leaders that emerge in the next few years will be those that can seamlessly weave new data sources, end points and technologies into the enterprise network to compete effectively.
This year has made it clear that companies need to be prepared to adapt rapidly to customer needs and future-proof operations to succeed in a post-COVID-19 world. A data fabric helps companies simplify and optimize how their data is managed, with confidence in its integrity, create a competitive advantage and build the foundation for a modern data-driven enterprise.