Explaining Data Fabrics to the CEOs: How and Why

A “fabric” is defined as “a fabric made from weaving, knitting, or felting of fibres,” according to Dictionary.com. Alternative definitions include: structure; The fabric of society. Building; stated.”

“Fabric” is an amorphous term—to the extent that IT leaders can struggle to explain its importance to management as it did when another amorphous term—the cloud—emerged on the scene more than a decade ago.

However, to move forward with taking control of data and being able to secure data and recompile data to gain new insights, this is exactly the data fabric that IT must create and sell to management until the company makes the investments in the tools and skills that will be needed to create and maintain a data fabric. .

How can IT define and articulate the importance of the data fabric in clear language that the business understands and supports?

Data Fabrics Treat Pain Points

The answer begins with identifying organizational weaknesses that cost time and money and explaining how the data texture can address these pain points.

For example, this is a painful moment that was about to happen at an industrial equipment company last year, but was successfully avoided due to the texture of data the company had.

The company’s stellar sales rep was on the verge of pitching a multi-million dollar deal to a major client. Just before you make the call, check out the customer’s recent experience with the company. Note that many records have been received from customer service.

Apparently, the customer had significant productivity problems with the same equipment that the salesperson wanted to put up. Before contacting the customer, the salesperson contact the service, learn more about production issues, and then call the customer to see how they can help.

Months later, the salesperson booked a multi-million dollar order with the customer because all issues were resolved, and the customer trusted the salesperson to always “have their back.”

The role of data fabrics

Without a data fabric that cross-links all of the organization’s information, the salesperson likely wouldn’t be aware of the issues the customer is having with the equipment. He might have called the customer and was met with anger when he offered his deal.

What the data texture did was give the salesperson a comprehensive view of all the data across the company about that specific customer. The comprehensive information gave the salesperson an insight into the customer’s recent product issues. This enabled the salesperson to proactively engage with the customer in resolving the problem.

What do data fabrics

The data texture is “a design concept that acts as an integrated layer (fabric) of data and connected processes.”

By linking all the data from all its sources and then putting that data into a unified data warehouse that becomes “one copy of the truth” for everyone across the organization, the data fabric eliminates the many data silos that reside in company departments. This “silo break” enables comprehensive, integrated information delivery to any point within the organization. It also speeds up the time to reach the results of the analyzes necessary for business decisions.

The alternative to data fabrics is to live without them. This means accepting the silos of data and the conflicting visions of business that these individual silos give to different departments throughout the organization. Most companies want all departments to operate with the same information so that business decisions can be made quickly and effectively. Data Fabrics enables it. This is the argument that IT leadership must make to business so that investments in data fabrics can be made.

Fabric construction

The Data Fabric will integrate data management into a single environment, automatically managing disparate data sources, technologies, and security in both on-premises and cloud environments.

However, to build a data fabric, IT needs an institutional investment in tools and skills that will link data from a variety of different sources. The tools will include ETL and other data purification and reformatting tools that ensure that data from a variety of sources can be interconnected and interoperable.

Skills needed for this job are in the areas of IT infrastructure, data management, networking and security. While some data fabric building tasks can be automated or performed by more entry-level people, senior data engineers and infrastructure specialists will be required to direct and coordinate the work.

With data cloths being such an infrastructure, the challenge for IT will be for non-IT management to demonstrate the value of allocating significant money to tools and people that seem to provide nothing of extrinsic value to the business.

How can you do this?

It should start with a strong business case and demonstrate how the data fabric can eliminate a company’s weaknesses with the ultimate goal of clearly describing the need for data fabrics so that if a senior non-IT executive in the room is stopped by a board member and asked Explain the importance of data texture, he will feel confident doing so.

What to read next:

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Data Fabrics: What CIOs Need to Know

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