While the traditional approach to enterprise data management considers using multiple tools to address all data lifecycle stages, having a unified data management system that covers everything from data foundation through to business intelligence outputs, presents benefits that can’t and shouldn’t be overlooked.
In a modern business environment, virtually every piece of software collects and interacts with data, making it one of the most critical assets companies need to leverage to be not only competitive but effective in their service delivery.
We collect, store, merge, visualize and analyze data, with the hope that in doing so we’re able to make better decisions as a result. Having effective processes defined for managing all this data can help maximize the value of information.
What is Data Management?
The consortium of data management professionals, DAMA International, defines data management as "the development and execution of architectures, policies, practices, and procedures in order to manage the information lifecycle needs of an enterprise in an effective manner".
Data management is in other words, a set of processes that aim to streamline and optimize the way in which organizations gather, store, access, and secure data from various sources.
Data management encompasses these basic stages: collection, storage, and processing (merge, visualization, and analysis). Traditionally, organizations approached each one of these stages or functions by leveraging a portfolio of tools that specialize in one stage of the data lifecycle.
You might use off-the-shelf tools like Survey Monkey or Google Forms to collect primary data, store it on Microsoft Excel, Access, or more advanced databases (MySQL, etc) and rely on business intelligence tools like PowerBI or Tableau to visualize and analyze. This was effective in the early days.
- Flexibility & consistency
- Simplicity & cost efficiency
- Data security & governance
Flexibility & consistency
For a data system to work well from start to finish (data collection to analysis), systems need to be aligned. Making changes to the way we want to collect or store data will by extension require consistent changes in the way it is processed or visualized. Organizations operating in complex contexts should expect to have to make changes to the above in order to stay in sync with the evolving environment around them. Things change and as a result, they need to adapt as well. The financial and time costs of making such changes will undoubtedly be greater the more systems are involved in the equation, more things to keep aligned, more things that can break... achieving consistency once is one thing, maintaining segments consistent while requiring flexibility is another.
Simplicity & cost efficiency
As you can imagine, building the capacity of your staff on three or four systems and their interconnections will be a bigger task than training them on one unique, comprehensive system. Reducing software subscriptions will not only reduce the running expenditures, but it will also prevent surprises when one update for one segment causes havoc on other parts of the chain. Large companies have people assigned to each part and each interconnection but not everyone is so lucky. Having all in one prevents integration issues, reduces headaches, and by extension costs less to manage and operate.
Data security & governance
In an ideal world, system administrators have full control and visibility over who can create, view, edit and delete data across their systems. That’s key to ensure that people have access to what they need and only what they need to do their jobs. If you sit below that threshold, it’s bad news for operational efficiencies.
Things will be delayed, bottlenecks will appear. If you’re above it, you’re taking on unnecessary risks, exposing sensitive data to more points of failure. Your cybersecurity is only as strong as the weakest link in that chain and most often than not nowadays that link is the human aspect. We forget we omit, we make mistakes. That’s unlikely to forever go away. Minimizing exposure through precise data governance mechanisms is key.
Unfortunately when you have multiple systems to account for with multiple credentials and access typologies, that’s undoubtedly only making your life harder when trying to contain or prevent a breach, let alone detect it.
What is an End-to-end (E2E) Data Management system?
According to Investopedia, end-to-end describes a process that takes a system or service from beginning to end and delivers a complete functional solution, usually without needing to obtain anything from a third party. In short, this would mean that all data management functions we discussed would be consolidated in a single platform, one comprehensive platform to manage them all.
Having everything in one is one of the oldest value propositions in the books and it usually means cost and time savings. The benefits of using End-to-end Data Management Systems extend even further:
- Ensure a single source of truth
- Consolidate multiple data management functions into a single solution
- Remove hidden risks
- Facilitate decision-making based on a common operating picture
- Streamline operational processes by removing bottlenecks and
- Ensuring data is secure and compliant
- Consistent data processes across teams and departments
Should my data management system be end-to-end?
For those who operate in fast-changing environments, investing in an end-to-end data management solution is a way to future-proof their data systems, reducing the amount of work required to keep systems in sync with an ever-changing context. As discussed, doing so will not only reduce costs and enhance operational efficiency by keeping things simple, it’s also best practice to ensure proper information governance mechanisms and security.
What’s harder to crack technology-wise is a system that can be iterated by non-technical users without having to write code but more people including our team at AKTEK are showing that this is possible.
If you’d like to discuss how end-to-end data management systems could make your life easier, make sure to reach out. We’d love to chat.