Technology

Make Your Operational Data Store Work for You

Make Your Operational Data Store Work for You
Written by Paresh Bramhane

Data has become the core of today’s businesses. If you’re not utilizing available data and making it work for you, you’re missing out on strategies that can make your business more attuned to the market and your customers. A misconception most organizations have is that all data is valuable to their business, but with the huge amounts of data that need to be processed and analyzed each day, it’s vital to find a way that can help you discover which data is most relevant to your business. There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every single day, with a mere 0.5% of it being analyzed. Clearly, organizations have merely touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to data and how it can help grow their business. 

For most businesses, the main uses of data can be divided into three main aspects:

  • Identifying variables.
    Data helps discover how certain things or aspects differ, and the degree of this difference.
  • Checking uncertainties.
    Data and analytics tools help provide and promote visualization practices that can help provide insights on the uncertainties that arise from data variations.
  • Defining context.
    Context provides a framework against which data analysis can be based. It helps determine how uncertainties affect the underlying data variations.

These three key aspects help ask the right questions so organizations can easily determine what their business needs at any given moment. Having the right tools at your disposal will help make applying these concepts into your data strategy easier and more seamless.

The Operational Data Store for Mastering Data

An operational data store (ODS) is a near-real-time system that holds the latest instance of data at any given moment, making it the “gold standard” of an organization’s operational data. As such, it can serve as an organization’s “digital integration hub” by being an intermediary to a data warehouse so that frequently accessed operational data resides closer to the user. By unifying the API layer, an ODS is able to decouple applications from systems of record, helping ensure always-on services. This can help organizations that manage large amounts of data stored in multiple systems because gaining access to data can be a source of request delays and system slowdowns. In between the APU layer and backend systems it also assists applications by providing an in-memory database with low latency and high throughput, which can be used as a data cache for API requests that return data to analytical systems. The cached data can then be used for database requests to avoid overloading backend applications and putting too much load on systems of record.

An ODS also publishes data to downstream systems to help drive both standard operational and event-driven processes. Even if you have multiple and disparate sources of data, it will maintain relational links to data to help you control complex processes using natively pre-related data elements. The high in-memory data speeds and short application response times provided by an ODS make high user concurrency a walk in the park. The ODS architecture can also be your first step toward digital transformation; it will help you migrate data to modern systems or even to the cloud, even if your data is stored in legacy systems. As such, an ODS is typically used as a key component of an organization’s shift to digital. With an ODS in place, a business is in a better place to achieve the following goals.

Improve Customer Experience

Data can help you discover behavioral patterns so you can adjust your strategy accordingly. Gather data about trends, common choices, and even complaints across the customer journey so you can improve the overall customer brand experience and increase engagement.

Make Sound Business Decisions—Quicker

Your business data can come from several sources: your website, social media channels, or your eCommerce channel. Depending on the type of business you run, you could use data to answer vital questions specific to your brand or product. The key here is that data can provide specific numbers and insights that will help you decide your next steps or strategy.

Measure Business Success Objectively

Without data, you can’t put specific numbers on claims of one product or strategy being superior over another. Data provides the necessary statistics to help keep your decisions informed and your metrics accurate. It will help you measure success and determine what works for your business and what doesn’t.

Bridging the Data Gap With an Operational Data Store

Businesses that handle huge amounts of data will benefit from an ODS because it’s designed to ingest various data feeds. This makes migrations to a supplier or service provider easier because there’s no need to feed new data sources directly into your current platform. An ODS ensures that data output remains constant despite a change in business model. In a way, an ODS practically bridges gaps in data coverage, providing more flexibility in overall business operations. For most businesses, it’s an ideal option for upgrading an organization’s operational and data capabilities.

About the author

Paresh Bramhane

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