The digitization of the business world has led to organizations worldwide being flooded with data that can be difficult to manage. Experts predict that big data will continue to grow in the years to come. This will make it even more of a struggle for companies to transform information into useful business insights.
Another element that adds to the challenge of dealing with the growing data is that the data sources of most businesses multiply as they evolve. Managing multiple sources of data in the wrong way can lead to inefficiencies and complications down the line. This is why it is important to realize the significance of data integration in the form of a centralized data source.
Importance of a Centralized Data Source
Data that is kept in multiple locations and isn’t centralized won’t allow business departments to provide solutions even for simple questions. Vital yet fragmented pieces of information that are necessary for innovation will be difficult to access, making organizations less competitive overall.
The most common challenges that are associated with data silos include difficulties in:
- Data management
- Data consistency
- Accessing social data
When you simplify and centralize business information, you can start breaking down the silos that make data inaccessible in the first place. Harmonizing data collection, processing, and distribution can lead to numerous benefits for companies today.
Benefits of Unified Data Integration
Most businesses find it challenging to handle their information systems management and the relevant databases. The biggest reason for this is that they lack the centralization of a unified data hub. With access to a centralized data integration system, companies can gather, store, and obtain information in one place while providing everyone with access across their networks.
There are five main benefits of unified data integration:
Benefit #1: No More Data Silos
The more information a company can share with its departments, the more chances you have of developing plans and strategies to achieve your goals. The problem with data silos is that they hinder access to the free flow of data across the organization. Data silos spring up when each department comes up with its own information regarding responsibilities, benchmarks, and priorities. Unfortunately, such silos tend to be isolated since they are under the control of individual groups.
Such bottlenecks can lead to issues for companies since they will now have to deal with differing points of data. Whenever departments need to collaborate, team members won’t know right away which department’s information is more accurate. At the end of the day, data that is kept in silos will eventually keep companies in a fragmented state. Such divisions can force teams to continue operating even when they don’t have a clear path toward their goals.
With centralized data integration, you can get rid of these silos by unifying all information to a single source that is readily shareable with others. This helps reduce the time spent having to reconcile dissimilar sets of data while minimizing their inefficiencies. Additionally, having centralized data results in more opportunities for departments to work together and resolve issues due to having quick access to shared knowledge.
Benefit #2: More Accurate Data
Inaccurate information leads to many inefficiencies, resulting in organizations losing out not only on time and money but also on their standing among partners. Bad data tends to pile up in business environments that have to deal with numerous sources. Many scenarios can happen due to these inaccuracies and redundancies. For example, companies may start billing their vendors incorrectly or miscalculate production requirements.
With an enterprise data integration approach, you can leverage a centralized source for your data to minimize the accumulation of inaccurate information. It’s also far easier to maintain a centralized data source.
Benefit #3: Enhanced Data Management
Robust data management has become a must in today’s business environment. This is especially true given how information can come from several areas. Data management programs are designed to facilitate the assessment and use of information within organizations. The goal of these programs is to maintain a level of security for all enterprise data interactions.
By leveraging a centralized data hub, companies can significantly reduce the complications in securing and integrating organizational data. This allows them to improve their data governance capabilities.
Benefit #4: Easier Sharing of Ideas
Most businesses follow a data silo approach wherein each team or department maintains its own information repositories. But as you already know, data silos are no longer seen as an efficient means to store data. When companies implement a centralized data integration system, they can get rid of these silos and make data sharing much easier.
Rather than having several individuals or groups working on similar datasets on their own, they can instead collaborate and share ideas more often. Being able to easily share information with the rest of the company can open up new avenues for diversity and growth.
Benefit #5: Increased Levels of Data Security
Organizations that have access to a centralized database will often gain enhanced levels of security due to a couple of reasons. First, everyone in the company knows that they are sharing information and that these data sets benefit various departments. This means that each group will share the same interest in keeping their data safe.
Another reason is that most organizations implement their own security protocols. These measures can include limiting access to unauthorized personnel. When teams can cross-check to ensure that only authorized parties can use enterprise data, they can minimize the chances of potential data leakage within their network.
Differences Between Data Hubs, Data Lakes, and Data Warehouses
Data hubs, data lakes, and data warehouses are all key components in enterprise data management. These elements help companies catalogue and manage their data properly to ensure success in the long run. Understanding how these different components work is crucial.
One should know that they aren’t alternatives but complement each other when used together.
Think of a data hub as a center that facilitates the data flow between source, target, and user systems. Its main purpose isn’t to store information but to act as a catalyst to promote the synchronous distribution and exchange of data. On the other hand, you might see data lakes and data warehouses as similar data storage mechanisms, but they aren’t interchangeable.
A data lake is like a “pool” that can hold large amounts of raw data or data that doesn’t truly have a predefined purpose yet. Meanwhile, a data warehouse is a database where structured and filtered information has been processed beforehand for certain purposes. Today, data hubs are growing in popularity within businesses that are seeing the benefits they have to offer. The problem here is that many still fail to realize that they aren’t interchangeable with data lakes and data warehouses.
As mentioned above, a data hub doesn’t primarily focus on storing enterprise data but works as a serving point to efficiently move data between endpoints. It enforces data management so that the information flowing through the company’s network goes smoothly.
Regarding data lakes and data warehouses, a key difference between the two is the quality of the enterprise data that each holds. Usually, users still need to process the information kept within data lakes to provide them with real value. Meanwhile, data warehouses hold refined and structured data that can be used immediately for analytics and business intelligence.
For enterprises to succeed in today’s increasingly digitized environment, they need to use a combination wherein a data hub, data lake, and data warehouse can work in harmony.
Utilizing a centralized data source has become a necessity for enterprises today. The ability to simplify and centralise business information can allow organizations to eliminate the silos that can hinder their potential to succeed. Companies stand to benefit when they leverage a unified data integration approach. The five primary advantages such a system offers are the elimination of data silos, increased data accuracy, enhanced data management, seamless information sharing, and reinforced levels of data security.
Three key components allow for harmonious enterprise data management. These are the data hub, data lake, and data warehouse. It’s important to note that these three aren’t the same nor are they alternatives to one another. Instead, they work to complement one another to ensure the free flow of information within an organizational network. Enterprises looking to stay relevant in the coming years need to implement a system where data hubs, data lakes, and data warehouses can work well together.