In our increasingly digital world, data is the lifeblood of any organization. The unprecedented rate at which data is now created, stored, and analyzed offers businesses enormous potential for innovation. But without effective data management, this vast influx can be more of a challenge than an opportunity. Data fabrics enable organizations to maximize the value of their data and make better decisions faster. Let’s take a deeper dive into data fabrics, their uses, and their benefits.
Data Fabrics: Unifying Data Management
So, what exactly are data fabrics, and what advantages do they offer? Essentially, a data fabric is an integrated data infrastructure designed to master the challenges of hybrid data landscapes. Infrastructures of this kind aim to balance decentralization and globalization by acting as virtual “connective tissue” between diverse data endpoints.
This approach enables companies to unify their data management while retaining distributed storage. Data fabrics achieve this by leveraging emerging technologies such as data virtualization, a semantic layer, metadata management, and automated data cataloguing – breaking down the boundaries that separate disparate applications, data, clouds, and people.
Driving Transformation, Enhancing UX
As well as supporting data integration, data fabrics can automate data discovery, governance, and deployment. What’s more, they supply a wealth of business data for analytics and AI. This not only drives better decision-making; it also accelerates digital transformation.
Data fabrics also have the advantage of not depending on particular deployment platforms, data processes, geographic locations, and architectural approaches. And from the point of view of end users, they provide a unified, consistent user experience plus real-time data access for all authorized staff – no matter where they are in the world.
Tapping the Potential of Unused Data
These days, the world’s most efficient companies are data-driven. As a result, data is a major competitive advantage. That being said, a staggering 68% of data in companies currently goes unused. The reasons for this are many and various, ranging from the large number of data sources and data types across the organization right through to simple lack of data access.
Drawing together companies’ data is a complex undertaking that presents particularly tough challenges. When it comes to data integration, tradition approaches are simply unable to meet today’s demand for real-time connectivity, self-service, and automation.
Data fabrics play a pivotal role in clearing these hurdles. They enable you tackle the problems of data silos head on by interconnecting different data sources and providing cross-system interoperability that delivers quicker, easier information access.
When Does Implementing a Data Fabric Make Sense?
There are various factors in favor of introducing a data fabric approach. As we’ve just seen, if you’re currently struggling with disparate infrastructures and data silos, the tech could be just what you need to solve your data integration problems – without having to rebuild your system landscape from the ground up. And if rapid decisions are key to your competitive edge, a data fabric could be the accelerator you’re looking for.
Greater Speed, Better Insight
One major advantage of data fabrics is that they’re built on top of the existing IT infrastructure. This means they can be implemented quickly and easily using an appropriately designed data platform, allowing you to continue using your existing technologies, applications, and services.
Data fabrics also have the benefit of automating data insight. They do this by continuously identifying and connecting data from disparate applications to discover unique, business-relevant relationships between the available data points. What’s more, data traceability makes for greater transparency, enabling management to make better business decisions.
Automated Compliance, Faster Data Access
This isn’t the only way that data fabrics automate critical tasks. They can also leverage AI to automatically extract content from regulatory documents, creating data-governance rules and definitions and automatically checking whether data complies with them.
Last but not least, data fabrics avoid redundancies – on the one hand, by consolidating data management tools; and on the other, by minimizing data duplication. As a result, users enjoy faster access to more complete, higher-quality data that provides deeper insights.
Real-World Use Cases
This is all fine in theory, but how do data fabrics play out in the real world? The following use cases give an idea of the application of the tech in practical settings. When implemented in supply chains, for example, a data fabric can give faster access to new data about supplier delays and production delays – laying a foundation for better decisions.
In the financial sector, banks can deploy data fabrics to integrate their data systems. This not only delivers access to comprehensive, trustworthy data; that data can also be evaluated in real time, enabling more rapid responses to critical situations. In addition, introducing data fabrics allows banks to swiftly implement automation solutions for tasks such as fraud detection, credit scores, or securities transactions.
I hope this brief introduction to the fascinating world of data fabrics has sparked your interest. As ever, if you’ve any questions about this month’s featured tech, feel free to reach out to me. I’m always happy to dig deeper into technologies with you and discuss how they can best meet your business needs.