Be agile, play nicely with the ecosystem and avoid vendor lock-in!
It’s no secret that in today’s fast-paced business environment, agility is key to success. Organizations need to be able to quickly access and analyze their data to make informed decisions and stay ahead of the competition.
This is where open data delivery platforms come into play. An open data delivery platform is a technology solution that enables organizations to access, combine and deliver data from legacy data sources, business applications and databases to data destinations and end-users across the entire enterprise without the need to rearchitect their existing data and analytics tech stack.
Limitations of traditional data warehouses
Traditional data management solutions such as the data warehouse have brought the value of data and analytics to the attention of business leaders, storing large volumes of data in a single location and making it easier to analyze and draw insights that wouldn’t have been possible in isolation.
However, one of the biggest limitations of traditional data warehouses is their lack of flexibility, whether that’s making changes to the data model or adding new data sources or data types as business needs evolve and change.
When technology systems become inflexible, organizations tend to simply move around the obstacle in their path, and instead of a single enterprise data warehouse, companies find themselves with multiple legacy data silos, requiring extensive manual processing to stitch data back together for analysis and to drive business decisions. The costs rise, the insights slow down and with siloed data, there’s a lurking risk of errors and inconsistencies in the data itself, as teams start using different data sources or definitions in their analytics work.
The benefits of open data delivery
Open data delivery platforms are designed to address the limitations of the last generation of data management systems, ensuring that a company’s data strategy has a foundation that’s agile, flexible, and scalable.
At the heart of the platform is a unified view of an organization’s data, ensuring that data from disparate sources and systems can be easily integrated and analyzed, allowing decision-makers to gain a holistic understanding of their business with complete visibility to the details behind aggregated data views. This unified view requires an emphasis on real-time insights, rather than outdated or incomplete data – we’re entering an era where incremental loads rather than a fragile nightly batch helps analysts to keep their fingers on the pulse of business.
With traditional analytics development, the emphasis was having project teams create a detailed plan upfront and then follow it to the letter. As they say, “no plan survives contact with the enemy” and this is equally true with data management. Historically, such projects often resulted in delays, significant upfront investment, missed deadlines and unhappy users and customers.
Modern agile development, on the other hand, emphasizes flexibility and collaboration. It breaks down projects into smaller, more manageable chunks and focuses on shipping working data models and products more frequently.
With open data delivery platforms able to provide easier access to 100% of an enterprise’s data from multiple sources, it enables developers to rapidly prototype, test and deploy new data applications and insight services, whereas previously each request for new data or revisions to the data model would have required weeks or months of change requests. An agile approach ensures that organizations can quickly respond to changing marketing conditions and customer needs, and rapidly prototype, test and deploy new capabilities.
Why “open” matters for future-ready platforms
In the context of building a future-state data architecture, the term “open” refers to the platform’s ability to integrate and work seamlessly with other systems and tools in the modern data stack ecosystem, as well as the capability to customize or extend functionality through third-party application developers, such as partners or members of the platform community.
When a platform is described as open, it doesn’t necessarily mean free or open source. Instead, it’s a statement of intent that it’s not limited to proprietary technologies or locked-in to specific vendor solutions. Many last-generation analytics tools only offered connectivity to that vendor’s databases or systems, leaving analysts looking for expensive work-arounds when trying to access the wide variety of data sources needed to complete a project.
Left with a sour taste in their mouth and likely, “buyer’s remorse” from these experiences, technology leaders and architects charged with building next-generation data delivery platforms must plan for technologies that complement one another with best-of-breed capabilities to ensure that future strategic buying decisions aren’t constrained by one vendor’s inability to play nicely as part of an integrated ecosystem.
Future-proofing your data delivery strategy: key trends to consider
For readers looking to integrate with an open data delivery platform that’s ready to outperform in the coming years, this means paying attention to trends in the industry today. The explosion in data volumes over the past decade will lead directly to the continued growth in machine learning and artificial intelligence applications over the next few years. Automation of reports, dashboards and data pipelines will drive efficiency in the delivery of insights, with AI quickly evolving into a business ‘co-pilot’ for many operational decisions.
Another trend that’s likely to shape the future of data delivery is the rise of data products: applications or services built on top of a company’s data infrastructure. These new capabilities may be delivered through novel “data mesh” architectures that emphasize decentralization and distributed ownership of data – further breaking down silos and improving the flexibility and scalability of future data delivery platforms.
Whatever the future holds, as businesses increasingly rely on data to drive their operations, it is clear that open data delivery platforms will play an increasingly important role in helping organizations to stay competitive and drive growth.
To learn more about Incorta’s open data delivery platform, visit https://www.incorta.com/platform and see how customers can benefit from access to 100% of their enterprise data in real-time with the ability to integrate and complement their investments across the modern data stack ecosystem.