“Most enterprises are nowhere close to a simple, fully cloud-native, modernized data stack” – Digvijay Lamba, Alteryx

Digvijay Lamba, Chief Technology Officer at Alteryx, has penned a thought leadership article that takes a closer look at the challenges associated with cloud date integration.

Let’s face it: Most enterprises are nowhere close to a simple, fully cloud-native, modernized data stack. And it won’t ever be that way, as technologies change new systems with their own data silos continuously introduced.

In fact, a recent survey revealed that 30% of companies use legacy technologies to manage their data, with 90% of companies relying on outdated data stacks, which lack scalability and have inflexible architectures.

This often silos data, preventing enterprises from reaping the benefits of their data technology investments and impeding users’ access to critical information that can help drive business decisions.

That’s where cloud data integration comes in. It consolidates data from disparate locations — from on-prem to cloud and beyond — into a single, accessible view for everyone. Without it, IT administrators will need to sift through each system separately for data management and maintenance, which could lead to more inconsistencies and security risks.

As the UAE continues its rapid digital transformation, enterprises across sectors are increasingly adopting cloud solutions.

Cloud data integration stands at the forefront of this movement, offering a streamlined approach that enhances data accessibility and operational efficiency, key components in the nation’s strategy to become a leading digital economy

Like any technology, the full potential of cloud data integration is unleashed only when strategically executed. So, what does a successful strategy look like? Here is my take.

Know where your data is

Any cloud data integration strategy must start with knowing where all your data is located. While there are different schools of thought on where data should reside, the truth is not all data is created equal.

The beauty of cloud data integration is that not all data needs to be in the cloud, nor does it all need to be on premises. For example, a hybrid strategy is attractive to enterprises that want to transition some of their workloads to the cloud but also to retain control over sensitive data within their own infrastructure.

It is also important for every data worker to know about and have access to the data they care about. Making data easy to discover with one click access for every employee is the biggest multiplier to an organization’s ability to be data driven.

Get rid of your data debt

The next step is to eliminate data debt — where an organization fails to manage data quality, negatively impacting costs and productivity. Any data-driven technology will only be as successful as the quality of the data it’s utilizing.

If data is collected manually from siloed sources via spreadsheets, there is bound to be a breakdown in data quality due to human errors, lack of transparency, and inconsistency — making business decision-making slow, painful, and ineffective.

With modern technologies, it has become easier than ever to provide increased controlled access to the source data via easy-to use tools without proliferating copies of modified and hard to synchronize data. Eliminating these copies and providing more direct control over data to business functions can significantly reduce an organization’s data debt.

Improve data quality

The success of any cloud data integration strategy lies in its data preparation, including the processes of data cleansing, mapping, and transformation. No matter where data is hosted — on the cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid environment — it still needs to be wrangled, cleansed, and structured into a unified platform. Organizations need to select a data preparation tool that reduces the time and resources usually poured into the process.

Allowing domain experts that sit on business teams to use modern easy to use tools can democratize this work and allow increased ownership.

These business teams can then partner with central data teams to create and use shared data assets that are high quality, governed and avoid duplication. Together this can create a balance of democratized use of data while maintaining consistency and high quality across the data assets in the organization.

Lead the change 

Data is a powerful engine of business innovation. This isn’t to say cloud data integration is the solution to a company’s data woes.

However, it is a key piece of building an enterprise-wide culture of data literacy that encourages every department — from marketing and finance to HR and IT — to easily access and use data for business processes and decision-making across the company.

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