CIO upfront: Why overcomplicate your data strategy?

There’s no doubt that advanced data analytics has ushered in a data-driven era for organisations all over the world. This has seen smart organisations enjoying reduced costs, increased efficiency and all-around better decision-making. But, and it is a big but, intelligent data management is critical to helping companies ensure the integrity, accessibility, protection and governance of their data, whilst extracting maximum value.

Most organisations want to understand their customers’ individual needs, so they can tailor their offerings appropriately. To do this effectively, they need to get their data management under control and not overcomplicate their data strategy.

Replacing aging data warehouses

A lot of the organisations I’ve spoken to recently have various complex Enterprise Data Warehouses (EDWs), which offer a highly governed and structured approach to their data, but this structure makes them labour intensive and slows both data ingestion and ad hoc business reporting. The larger the business and the older the data warehouse, the greater the complexity and heightened risk to data integrity.

Many traditional EDWs are struggling to keep up with the constantly changing demands of the businesses they serve. Today even relatively modest sized businesses are struggling to house, understand and leverage the data they are working with. Data-intensive organisations such as banks, health providers and insurance companies are only too aware of the real-world challenges that managing their data can create.

What’s the point of Data Vaults?

Simply put, Data Vault 2.0 is both a data modelling technique and methodology that is highly efficient and effective at storing and managing business information and accommodates historical data, provides governance, auditing, and tracking of data quality. They are emerging as the ideal solution to replace aging data warehouses that have become bogged down, overly complex and unmaintainable.

Speed, flexibility and accuracy are the key advantages of Data Vaults as they reduce the deployment time of a new data warehouse and, perhaps more importantly, dramatically reduce implementation cycles. This is important because it underpins critical business philosophies such as Agile IT development and Six Sigma continual process improvement.

With greater flexibility comes the ability to incorporate changes quickly, without affecting the existing architecture, thereby reducing the need for shadow IT teams.

Banks and lenders embrace Data Vaults

The unique traceability that Data Vaults provide makes them especially suited to merging or rationalising multiple data warehouses from disparate business units or organisations. For this reason, many major banks and financial institutions have already invested in data vaults, including Commonwealth Bank and Australian non-bank lender, Pepper Money.

Pepper Money wanted to reduce the operational burden of managing multiple Enterprise Data Warehouses and consolidate its infrastructure to be more agile and responsive to the needs of the business. Pepper has rationalised three data warehouses into a single Data Vault, which delivers full auditability by protecting the integrity and origin of the data.

Creating trust in your data warehouse

Whilst traditional data management methods only present a “single version of the truth,” cleansing or removing what does not fit with predefined business rules; a Data Vault can offer all the data, all the time within its scope. This provides improved accuracy and data integrity, allowing an auditor to trace values back to the source, which is particularly beneficial when merging multiple EDWs.

Data accuracy is critical to business success and a Data Vault allows you to create trust in your data warehouse as a true system of record; giving you the confidence to implement a data-driven business strategy.

Unless organisations address data integrity and data agility within their data strategy, they can invest millions on clever solutions, data marts and the like, but their efforts will be futile with poor data and ultimately, they are just building a house of cards.

Building your own Data Vault Practice

Creating operational excellence through scalable enterprise data governance, using the Data Vault methodology is something that all organisations can achieve. Having the ability to build their own Data Vault means Australian organisations will be able to easily create adaptable, sensible, data models that energise their data, whilst providing tangible ROI efficiencies.

Being able to build, automate and deploy Data Vaults from end to end in an agile fashion means that organisations can get the job done and revolutionise their approach to data, with only weeks of design and implementation, instead of months or even years. And because they are scalable and work with MPP and Hybrid architectures (SQL and NoSQL Hybrids) they are 100 per cent future proof.

Data managers and professionals within organisations need to be able to discuss the business benefits and value of the data with the business units that are using the data to understand and segment their customers better, to offer them what they really want without making huge assumptions.

What does this all mean?

Data-driven enterprises need to adopt a data management approach that is more closely aligned with the strategic needs of their business, enabling them to deliver projects faster and with minimal errors and a significantly lower cost of ownership.

Data Vaults will take organisations to the next level, while simplifying their data strategy as they provide a complete ‘System of Business Intelligence’, representing a major evolution due to the rise of predictive and prescriptive analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

This will continue to challenge the status quo and I believe will be a great thing for all organisations that truly believe in the value of data!

'Most organisations want to understand their customers’ individual needs, so they can tailor their offerings appropriately. To do this effectively, they need to get their data management under control and not overcomplicate their data strategy.'

Julien Redmond is solutions director, information management, Certus Solutions.

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