Getting Towards a Mature Data Infrastructure

Data is the watchword in organizations large and small. In fact, how an organization frames data is the single most important determination of future success or failure. As some put it, Data is the new “oil,” the commodity of most value in the modern age.

Many business leaders understand this intuitively. As business-users in the organization are forced to make larger number of critical decisions with larger “payloads” on a more frequent basis, the idea that these decisions must be data-driven is at the fore. Gut instinct is fine but gut instinct inflected with timely, contextual, and comprehensive knowledge of relevant data is a winning strategy.

While the idea of being “data-driven” is fundamental and powerful, most organizations fall short. Intentions are necessary but not sufficient. For most organizations, the technology and operational infrastructure that defines their “data” is predicated on notions that made sense in an earlier era in which there were simply less sources of data and less change to existing sources. The “size” of the data question makes for a complexity that is not pre-defined and therefore the solution to the data problem has to be flexible and adaptive. Data infrastructure maturity is necessary in today’s business environment and has 4 basic qualities: Governance, Security, Agility, and Automation.

Without these 4 qualifiers, 2 core facets of the solution are absent- democratizing access to data and liberating IT from the backlog and fatigue associated with constantly-changing business needs. Business-users work in the “NOW” timeframe while IT has its own rhythms. In order to truly be data-driven in a way that scales, organizations must empower business-users while simultaneously freeing IT to innovate. While there are cultural hurdles to this state, the biggest blockers are infrastructural.

Until very recently, good enough was, alas, good enough. The internecine conflict between Business and IT was considered just a fact of life, a “cost of doing business.” With automation technology, business users’ data needs can be managed on the fly and without the need for reactive hand-coding, conferring agility to the business teams and handing time back to the IT teams to innovate and more resources from lower value tasks to higher value tasks. This structural win-win is available today and harmonizes the needs of Business and IT.

If data is the new oil then an infrastructure to capitalize on it is necessary- an infrastructure that is mature and “Hub”-like. While all organizations are different, they are similar in their data needs and the data platforms that win will accommodate diversity and change inherently.

Guest post by:
Romi Mahajan
Chief Commercial Officer, TimeXtender

Written by Paul Dunay
Paul Dunay is an award-winning B2B marketing expert with more than 20 years’ success in generating demand and creating awareness for leading technology, consumer products, financial services and professional services organizations. Paul is the global vice president of marketing for Maxymiser a leading web optimization firm, and author of four “Dummies” books: Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley 2009), Social Media and the Contact Center for Dummies (Wiley Custom Publishing 2010), Facebook Advertising for Dummies (Wiley 2010) and Facebook Marketing for Dummies 2nd Edition (Wiley 2011). His unique approach to marketing has led to recognition of Paul as a BtoB Magazine Top 25 B2B Marketer of the Year for 2010 and 2009 and winner of the DemandGen Award for Utilizing Marketing Automation to Fuel Corporate Growth in 2008. He is also a finalist for the last six years in a row in the Marketing Excellence Awards competition of the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), and is a 2010 and 2005 gold award winner in Driving Demand. Buzz Marketing for Technology, Paul’s blog, has been recognized as a Top 20 Marketing Blog for 2009 and 2008, a Top Blog to Watch for 2009 and 2008, and an Advertising Age Power 150 blog in the “Daily Ranking of Marketing Blogs.” Paul has shared his marketing thought leadership as a featured speaker for the American Marketing Association, BtoB Magazine, CMO Club, MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa, Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), and ITSMA. He has appeared on Fox News, and his articles have been featured in BusinessWeek, The New York Times, BtoB Magazine, MarketingProfs and MarketingSherpa. Paul holds an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Computer Science from Ithaca College.