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The last few years have tested business leaders like no others, and many rose to the challenge. In the face of rapidly changing consumer needs and expectations, increasing regulation and uncertainty brought about by geopolitical events, enterprises globally have continued to thrive.
For many, at the heart of this agile response to change was fresh investment in technology. According to the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), since the start of the pandemic, almost half of all businesses invested in digital technologies such as hardware, software, or digital infrastructure. In particular, businesses recognised they must be able to pivot rapidly, using near real-time data to make the right decisions amid a torrent of conflicting information. In a fast-moving situation, such as the localised eruption of wildfires or extreme weather events, companies need the most up-to-date, reliable, and relevant data they can access.
But what now? With economic uncertainty set to continue, business leaders face a new challenge: getting the most out of their technology investments, while ensuring ongoing resilience. Because after all, resilience planning is not a ‘one and done’ exercise.
Making previous investments go further
As businesses look to achieve the necessary agility, using more advanced capabilities to extract predictive and prescriptive insights in-the-moment from highly disparate data holds the key.
This is often a severe challenge for organisations because data can be dispersed among separate, disjointed systems and third-party providers, resulting in significant data silos. It is an issue which has been compounded for some businesses by the introduction of new technology, adding to complex ecosystems. This leads to an enterprise-wide data ecosystem that is inconsistent, disparate, and difficult to interpret.
In practice, this makes it challenging for organisations to adapt to changing market conditions, capitalise on crucial business opportunities, and gain an accurate understanding of risk. In other words, it is having a significant impact on their ability to be agile and resilient in the face of uncertainty.
Instead, organisations need all the data they use to give them a 360-degree panorama. The advent of the smart data fabric is making this a reality for businesses across sectors, empowering them to use their data to become more agile and resilient, while also allowing them to maximise the value from previous technology investments.
This is because the smart data fabric sits on top of an existing data infrastructure, thereby allowing existing legacy applications and data to remain in place, including existing data lakes and data warehouses. This consequently removes any need to “rip and replace” any of their existing technology and avoids the need to add more technology to the fray.
Actionable data for increased resilience
Once in place, the smart data fabric speeds and simplifies access to data assets across the entire business. It accesses, transforms, and harmonises data from multiple sources, on demand, to make it usable and actionable for a wide variety of business applications.
By embedding analytics capabilities, including data exploration, business intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning directly within the fabric, it is faster and easier for organisations to gain new insights and power intelligent predictive and prescriptive services and applications.
By incorporating real-time transactional data and eliminating delays in accessing data stored in production applications and data silos, business leaders are able to make decisions based on accurate and current data, not data that is weeks old. The ability to make in-the-moment decisions, based on real-time data enhances resilience and agility, helping organisations to anticipate and adapt to changing market conditions, unexpected events, and volatility.
Using technology in this way also helps eliminate errors and prevent future business opportunities from being missed, further increasing agility.
Resilience equates to revenue
With organisations having invested heavily in technology during the pandemic, the smart data fabric approach ensures that those investments remain fruitful, arming businesses with the capabilities they need to bridge disparate data and systems. With access to the capabilities needed to make more effective use of their data, companies are empowered to extract critically-important insights and react faster to events and trends, making the right decision every time.
As resilience is intrinsically linked to revenue, businesses can’t underestimate the importance of ensuring greater resilience through their use of technology. After all, maximising existing technology investments will not only bring about the aforementioned benefits, but by adopting a smart data fabric approach organisations will also increase the return on those investment.
At a time when everything from extreme weather events to uncertain political landscapes remain the norm, businesses need to ensure they have the resilience and agility to handle not only current events, but also what is coming round the corner. Implementing a smart data fabric approach will give organisations the access to complete, accurate, and current data necessary to better withstand and anticipate change, continue to serve customers, and even create new revenue streams.