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Harnessing the Power of a Single Universal Data Set

Feature Article | October 10, 2017 by Kristin McMahon

Every organization’s digital journey begins by rapidly transforming data — the currency of digital transformation — into insight so people can act in the moment and innovate without constraints.

But enterprise data is an unwieldy thing, isn’t it? New kinds of data from new data sources — for example, streaming data from IoT-enabled sensors, or social media data — are being created all the time, resulting in massive data sets. This data is diverse in format and location, making it difficult to collect and connect for timely transactions or analysis. And often, it’s simply become too huge for your systems, applications, or analytical tools to handle or too unstructured to turn into timely insights. As noted by Forrester in a recent paper, “The 7 Laws of Universal Data: Create a Road Map For Real-Time, Agile, Self-Service Data Platform,” you know you have a data problem when it takes too long to:

  • Measure business performance
  • Provide insights for strategic and operational decision-making
  • Get intelligence into business processes and push it to employees
  • Tap unstructured data, and human analysis can’t scale efficiently

Some companies have tried to solve these issues by maintaining two sets of data: one for transactions and one for analysis. But this is not only costly and inefficient; it also leads to discrepancies because it’s hard to keep them in sync. And discrepancies lead to inaccurate analytical outcomes, with the obvious negative impact on decision-making.

Modern Universal Data Strategy

The solution to these challenges is simple, elegant, and powerful: the creation of a single, universal source of enterprise data that’s always up to date and can be used for both transactions and analysis. This way, you are better able to quickly deliver the right answers and insights based on the very latest data.

According to Forrester, it’s never been more important to have a single, enterprise-wide data set to drive business growth and achieve goals. When this data set is based on a unified, intelligent, real-time data management platform, it can be the foundation of a modern data strategy that frees your business to go beyond traditional business intelligence (BI) and reporting. Now, you have the way forward to innovate new processes and business models, understand what’s happening across your enterprise instantly, collaborate in real time across your extended enterprise, and more.

Seven Laws of Universal Data

SAP has defined seven laws for the concept of universal data. By ensuring that your data management and utilization approach adheres to these laws, you can maximize the value of your data today—and in the future.

The first law is about performance, because in the era of Big Data, real-time processing of data, regardless of size, is critical. The second law focuses on freedom, because in a modern data platform, the data cannot be constrained. It must have the freedom to flow between the cloud, hybrid environments, and on-premise applications so that data can be shared across the enterprise regardless of where it resides. The third law is about the use of models, because the data must be integrated for a 360-degree business view. It’s critical to find and understand all of your data so you can model it effectively to meet business goals.

Want to learn about the last four laws defining the concept of universal data and explore Forrester’s four-phase roadmap to successfully realizing the goal of universal data? Register for the upcoming webinar on October 18 at 11:00 a.m. ET. You’ll hear from Michele Goetz, principal analyst at Forrester, and me. See you there!

Kristin McMahon is a solution marketing director for SAP Enterprise Information Management solutions.

This story previously appeared on the Digitalist.

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