Why efficient data access is vital in today’s business world

Published on the 01/03/2018 | Written by Steve Singer

In an increasingly digital and interconnected world, data has become the oil that keeps business humming, writes Talend’s Steve Singer…

Traditionally, the collection, storage and processing of data has been a job for the IT department. With data centres full of servers, they’ve been data guardians since business computing first arrived.

Yet now, as data continues to explode in both volume and importance, it’s no longer good enough to gather huge amounts and expect it will be properly used. With data now underpinning business strategy, it needs to be in the hands of the right people, in the right form, at the right time. As a result, traditional roles within a business need to adapt, as CIOs and CTOs oversee comprehensive digital transformation projects.

The role of digital transformation
The aim of every digital transformation project is to create an adaptive, dynamic organisation. It aims for the perfect marriage of the business and IT function and requires both to collaborate to successfully harness all available data.

This is imperative to deliver the types of rapid growth and customer-centric developments that modern businesses are seeking to achieve. In recent years, groundwork has already been delivered through the increasing use of cloud platforms within businesses.

However, while the cloud provides the perfect platform for scalable, agile digitisation, three further challenges stand between organisations and true digital transformation success. These are:

  1. The growing pace of business:
    Businesses in every sector are needing to operate faster than ever before while also dealing with an explosion in both data types and volumes. At the same time, consumers are expecting the very latest products, with personalised services, in real-time.The challenge comes from the fact that this data frequently ends up being siloed, out of context, or of bad quality. Indeed, industry estimates predict that working on flawed data costs a business in the region of 10 time more than working on perfect data.Traditionally, employees within a business have maintained this data, but this is no longer feasible in the face of the sheer volume of information being received. Instead, businesses need to be empowered by modern technologies such as Big Data and machine learning to ensure that as much data preparation, cleansing and analysis as possible automated.Being data-driven is a mandate for modern business, and the strain cannot be placed on IT to simply keep pace with the latest technological innovations. Instead, the business function must support the creation of a digital strategy, focused on the latest business objectives, for the company to succeed.
  1. Digitisation is changing the job description:
    In the not-too-distant past, IT resources were centralised with an IT department managing on-premises data using legacy systems. While this was an effective way of keeping data safe and organised, it resulted in the data being hard to access and even harder to use.
    However, in today’s data-centric world, all employees must become self-sufficient when it comes to accessing and using data as a part of their daily role. The roles of everyone in a business, from the CIO to the business process analyst, are evolving so that they require data at their fingertips. Data is needed so they can strategize, execute and deliver for the business with the most relevant and up-to-date insights available.
  1. Threats to data are increasing by the day:
    The knee-jerk reaction to this situation might be to make as much data as possible available to as many people as possible. However, any well-versed CIO knows, this is not viable.With upcoming regulations like the European GDPR and Australia’s data breach notification laws, organisations have an increasing obligation to make sure only the right people have access to every piece of information.Here the solution is successfully implemented self-service IT solutions, which automate functions such as data access requests and data preparation. This is fundamental to allowing business employees faster access to the right data, as well as providing clear lineages of who accessed what information and when.At the same time, automated data preparation tools are essential to reduce the burden on the IT team, performing manual cleansing and formatting tasks. This, in turn, will enable the team to focus on delivering new technologies for an organisation, rather than troubleshooting legacy issues.

The rise of the cloud has created the possibility for every person in every business to be data driven, however this state is yet to be reached. Instead, organisations are experiencing data silos and limits on innovation.

The key is creating an approach to data that is built with the business objectives in mind. By making data available when it’s required, where it’s required and in the form it’s required, these objectives can be met.


Steve Singer is ANZ Country Manager, Talend.

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