Paul Mackay, Cloudera’s EMEA Cloud Lead, reflects on the role of an Enterprise Data Cloud, a hybrid platform making it possible to enhance data as it evolves.

If you were to ask European managers what their current business priorities are, they’re likely to highlight the need to improve customer service, adopt a more efficient operating model, maintain profitability, and value data.

Also, they need to minimize any interruptions to their activities

To effectively meet their priorities in the present, particularly complex business environment, they will probably have adopted IoT and Edge technologies, blockchain, or Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI & ML).

But what connects them all? The data.

Each of these technologies is collecting, storing or processing data. All are working to derive value from it.

Whether they know it or not, every organization is competing within a “data game” in which success depends upon the ability to enhance not only past and present data but also, and, more importantly, the data collected in both the near and long term future.

Despite this, there aren’t many enterprises who’ve adopted the right strategies and technologies to make the most of their data.


The race to the cloud to leverage data

Many companies are turning to cloud services to equip themselves with the level of agility, speed and efficiency needed to meet their demands.

In fact, when a company operates through a legacy data center and a business unit requests a new design, IT is bound by the rules and restrictions of that data center.

More precisely, it depends on how quickly the data center can give access to the available machines, connect them, and make them operational: and all this, when you’re starting a new project, tends to translate into delays of days, if not months.

This is where the fascination of the cloud comes into play.

A cloud provider is able to kick-start machines and data streams, ensuring they get up and running with the agility and speed that organizations recognize they need to innovate.

Nonetheless, even though the cloud allows companies to get up and running quickly as well as run vital tests {and, if anything fails, take everything apart and try again), it’s still not the solution for everyone.

Many companies will need to implement some form of hybrid solution, with some mission-critical systems staying in legacy data centers, creating distributed data silos across various systems.

The security implications of using a public cloud also have to be considered, as well as data disconnection when creating silos split between legacy, private, and public cloud systems.


Everyone wants AI and ML

Another problem that often arises is that companies hear about AI and ML’s ability to transform business processes and immediately want to implement it in their organization.

The problem is that to effectively use these technologies, companies must perform several preliminary actions.

They cannot immediately apply predictive modeling: being able to exploit data is a skill that requires a precise path.

First of all, they need to master accurate data collection and processing, along with analysis and application of business intelligence in order to apply some basic algorithm, before looking for the great insights that ML and AI can provide.


Enterprise Data Cloud: the key to making the most of data

To make the most of data and put a stop to silos, companies need to implement technologies that support them in their data journey.

This is where an Enterprise Data Cloud (EDC) comes into play.

Essentially, an EDC is a hybrid, multi-cloud platform that uses analytics at every stage of the data lifecycle to help organizations extract true value from their data .

It can be defined by four key pillars:   

  1. The ability to perform analytics in any cloud
    An EDC is optimized for hybrid and multi-cloud environments and offers the same data management capabilities across bare metal, private and public clouds. This means that companies have flexibility and freedom of choice about where to host data, without having to comply with the instructions of their cloud provider.
  1. Business support at all times of the data lifecycle
    An EDC can be used by any company, regardless of where they are on their data journey: even if they’re at the very beginning of it all and trying to understand how to analyze and value their data utilizing AI and M.
  1. Unique and consistent security and governance
    In today’s world, it’s simply not acceptable to remain unaware of who has access to your data. An EDC provides organizations with consistent security, governance, and control to safeguard data privacy, regulatory compliance, and prevent cybersecurity threats in diverse environments.
  1. The innovation that comes from opensource
    This is one of the most important features of an EDC because opensource technology has an extremely fast innovation rate. Unlike a private company that owns a software stack and invests in R&D to develop it, the opensource community drives change, innovation, and evolution in functionality, and all at a pace that cannot be replicated.


Responding to business needs

The need for an EDC arrives from the recognition that, to provide better service to customers or improve internal processes, present and future data must all be handled better, even though most companies – regardless of the benefits of a public cloud – find that everything can’t be done in one environment.

Some legacy data and systems will need to reside in the data center, meaning a company will need a hybrid system when it wants to enhance the data.

This is a need that an EDC can address, as it provides a unified point of control to manage IT infrastructure, data, and analytical workloads from a centralized platform, regardless of where the data resides.

Companies that can leverage data best and have a complete picture of their products, customers and their needs are the ones that will see the highest ROI from an EDC.

After all, data is the most important asset to a business. However, if organizations don’t use it in the smartest way possible, its value is canceled out.


This article has been written in collaboration with BitMAT.

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