One key challenge involves dealing with data that is stored in – or accessed from – different locations. Some of those sources are not obvious, and the data can come in both structured and unstructured formats. This can impede decision making and increase costs across the organization.
Building a data foundation is the solution, although it can be a complex and time-consuming process. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. The key is to take advantage of existing expertise and shared platforms.
Partner with Current Experts
Hiring a full-time data architect is both time consuming and expensive over the long term. It’s also unnecessary. You don’t have to hassle with recruiting, vetting, and hiring this type of expertise for your staff. What you need is a professional (or a company) with subject matter knowledge and experience in building and operating data foundations. A critical component is choosing a partner who has hands-on expertise to implement the improvements and deliver functioning results.
For example, today’s vehicles are too complex for a typical car owner to maintain. When you need repairs, you hire a trained, expert mechanic to provide the depth and breadth of knowledge, as well as the skill, to take care of your vehicle. Similarly, when you need to build a data foundation for your organization, you should partner with an external data architect. They should also be able to provide direction and advice on an as-needed basis.
Partnering with an experienced data architect to help you build and maintain a data foundation makes both logical and financial sense. You save on reworking costs, as well as development and implementation costs, and still get the benefits of the data foundation. You can train your employees to manage the day-to-day duties and bring in the data architect only when needed.
When hiring an external partner, it’s important to choose someone who speaks more than one “language”. They should understand – and be able to work with – the requisite digital technologies as well as understand industry-specific business processes. Knowledge and expertise with building data foundations is, of course, essential. However, having the second “language” will enable them to advise you on identifying potential business use cases and opportunities for ROI.
Leverage Shared Platforms
Everyone is chasing the same resources and trying to move fast. But the world is changing and we all have to change with it. You don’t need a custom-made data foundation. Hiring a developer to build a highly customized application that employs a single relational database is costly and inefficient.
It’s important to select the right architecture for your data foundation. Having a centralized infrastructure and controls enables you to maintain ownership of your data, ensure efficiency in your processes, and enforce accountability. Regardless of where your data foundation resides – cloud, hybrid or on-premises – you can always invoke the predictive insights that come from machine learning.
The key is to leverage shared platforms, where you get the benefits of existing expertise at a lower cost and in less time than a custom-designed database. You can add apps that address specific needs, selecting the ones that provide the solutions you need for your business and market. This creates a more agile, flexible, and scalable solution to your data needs.
Building a data foundation is not as difficult as it seems. In this case, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Partnering with outside experts who have extensive expertise in data foundations, and leveraging the power and benefits of shared platforms, is the obvious solution. In addition to simplifying the process, it will save you time and resources that can be applied to other areas of your business.