Asset managers hire top talent and want to get the most out of them. To do that, they need to be given the right information, tools, and culture to be successful. This includes freeing data and promoting a data culture where decisions and changes are made according to data-driven insights. Data is a product that drives business outcomes. Success comes from cultivating the best ideas and making the best decisions based on the best available data.
A key problem is that data is often trapped in applications creating data silos. Transforming into a data-driven organization requires access to high-quality information from across the enterprise. Business users need to be liberated from application constraints and provided a holistic view of enterprise data that can be analyzed.
Our point of view is that data is the new application. Architectures need to evolve to make data center stage. We see three pillars for a modern data strategy:
- Empower Business Users
- Provide Data Governance
- Architect an Enterprise Data Platform
Business users need to be empowered to use enterprise data without IT bottlenecks because organizations need to efficiently leverage their subject matter expertise. This begins with access to data and data tools. Business users are increasingly sophisticated and tech-savvy. IT departments who have traditionally tried to restrict user-developed solutions (aka “shadow IT”) need to pivot to prioritize self-service and allow the freedom to innovate.
Data Governance provides a critical foundation for managing and supporting enterprise data. It ensures that data is accessible, available, secured, protected, and of high quality. Data Governance provides self-service resources such as a data catalog, business glossary, and data lineage transparency. They also represent the data products, can answer questions, investigate issues, and evolve the product. Organizations must resist the urge to overregulate and instead adopt a lightweight framework that prioritizes agility and clarity.
The enterprise data platform is the starting point. We advocate evolving away from legacy application-centric architectures to a data-centric architecture that makes data a first-class citizen in the overall system architecture. The Data-Centric Manifesto, signed by over 1000 technology thought leaders, states, “Data is the center of the universe; applications are ephemeral.” Applications are valuable, but the underlying data can be more valuable and will often outlive the application.
While there are many obstacles to advancing a modern data strategy, mature solutions and clever tactics are available that can expedite the transformation. Positive business impact can be delivered regularly and incrementally by leveraging solutions such as data virtualization, a cloud data warehouse, data as a service, and other cloud services. Asset managers must move beyond the exploratory stage on these new enabling technical components and embrace them as they provide material time-to-market and cost benefits.
Look for a subsequent blog to learn how to overcome key challenges on your modern data architecture journey.