Trends in Data Management

SAP Analytics

Challenges Faced by the CIO/CDO

“We want to be data & analytics led”

“We want our organisation to be digital”

And so the data mantras go on but Chief Information Officers (CIO) and Chief Data Officers (CDO) face a really big challenge which is more about cultural change than managing the technologies which process data. Mastering data management and on-going data quality is going to be vital to support future digital transformation if a business is to realise any value from such statements above. Organisations will need to innovate faster, continuously improve and automate processes, which require fundamental shifts in the way we think about processing data. This innovation will affect traditional roles and responsibilities in the data world also. In fact, if we think about data being the blood flowing through transformational solutions it is so often an afterthought resulting in contaminated digital transformation.

Trends for 2019/20

IT analysts are in general agreement that Cloud adoption is a major trend along with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), but what else should we focus on with respects to data?

Trend #1 – Governance, Privacy & Security

Spurred on by the advent of GDPR last year, I am surprised to see so many organisations have not, in reality, understood the legislation let alone implemented it. Data Privacy was a hot topic and will remain to be! As organisations transform they will take time to get their house in order as part of the journey, ensuring the new solution conforms to a wide range of data privacy and other governance objectives. In fact, a transformation without data privacy baked into the solution represents a major risk to an organisation.

Such privacy laws only serve to add Governance as a major trend for new solutions as organisations jostle to present a view that they manage personal data better than their competition. In hindsight the last 10 years at least has seen the gradual erosion of master data management and governance that has led to such issues. Even the independent analysts such as Gartner dropped the old MDM Magic Quadrant only to pick it up again in recent years.

However, governance (and data quality) is for life and not just for a transformation and organisations need to recognise that governance needs to be baked into the operating model of the business processes being implemented. If it is not, then AI, RPA and Advanced Analytics to name a few are all at risk of data contamination yielding incorrect decisions.

Trend #2 – Cloud

Cloud computing is not new but at itelligence we are seeing more and more hybrid deployments with SAP technologies to meet the solution needs of our customers. The merge of Cloudera and Hortonworks to drive cloud enablement in the “Hadoop” ecosystem occurred last year and other solutions exist in the cloud which are being used e.g. Redshift and Snowflake.

No surprise that SAP entered this space with SAP Cloud Platform, SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud to support the shift of large volumes to hyperscaler environments and more cost effective infrastructure solutions. The additional strategic partnership with OpenText also provides cloud based document management and archiving solutions enabling further cloud integration. Even my own Data Management Practice drives data migrations to S/4 with Private Cloud solutions enabling a more cost efficient delivery model.

Closely aligned to cloud is the technology trend to support data aging and tiered storage through commodity technologies so that operational transactional systems remain lean while cheaper storage supports historical data.

Trend #3 – DataOps

The role of data professionals is changing. Data pipelines are sprawling across corporate landscapes implemented using many technologies and operational and audited figures do not often line up. These traditional data and analytics challenges along with migration of data, master data management/governance, archiving, content management and other disciplines will require Data Management professionals to embrace new ways of working, possibly becoming pseudo functional consultants and developers.

During large enterprise transformations, we now have a need to align services which co-ordinate the following as part of a new landscape deployment and this will all need careful architecture and delivery alongside traditional application deployment skills:
• Data Cleansing;
• Governance and sign-off;
• Confidentiality & Data Privacy;
• Master Data Management & Governance;
• Policy Management;
• Content Management; and
• Archiving for legacy system de-commissioning

Trend #4 – Master Data Management / Governance

As organisations seek to transform their business through IT or business transformation services there is a recognition by many that they need to revisit their master data management and governance models. As discussed in Trend #1 above, governance for the maintenance of data has become more crucial for regulatory reasons e.g. GDPR, Food Regulations or Health & Safety but the aspects of deploying a technology response are raising their head to provide strict management, workflow and authorisation of governance processes. Customers are also seeking master data solutions to underpin more effective data and analytics.

At itelligence we actively deploy solutions and services for master data management and governance using our own product ( it.MDS ) and SAP MDG in response to customers transforming their master data processes.

Trend #5 – Database to Data Platform

Over the years I have worked on many database technologies and distinctly remember in particular Oracle moving from a relational database through adding object extensions, partitioning and adding parallel queries and geospatial capabilities. So it goes on with mega vendors, but niche vendors bring specific solutions to the market for emerging needs e.g. Neo4J and Couchbase. However, to support digital transformation wide ranges of capabilities are required to deliver solutions to challenges presented in a blend of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data. SAP Cloud Platform is emerging to provide a platform that enables us to start thinking about responses not only in this space but also to facilitate Trend #3 as employees mash-up solutions to problems with a wide range of skills and agile delivery approaches.

Trend #6 – Data as a Service / Insights as a Service

Data providers such as Experian and D&B have been around for a long while and sectors such as The London Market have all benefitted from data provision and insight. As organisations start to improve the quality and accuracy of their data and the resulting insight, they will move more towards delivering these value added services e.g. in Supply Chain and Logistics where data and insight sharing can optimise the full end-to-end chain, and not just one part. Cloud platforms will become enablers to these services enabling organisations to be more flexible in delivering such services to their partners.

How can we help?

At itelligence we are recognising customers who are taking one or more of the above journeys as part of their digital transformation and are adapting the services we offer to address these evolving needs. If you require more information, please reach out to me:

David Milburn
Global Digital Practices – Data Management Manager

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