Ben Demaree, Director of Product Management, SMA Technologies
I want you to walk away from this article with an understanding of what you need to better manage your enterprise’s data.
As technology evolves, more and more specialized applications are created. This makes management of the data flow between each of these applications an increasingly arduous task for the IT professionals responsible for making their enterprise as efficient as possible. Here are a few stats from a recent survey of 104 IT leaders in the fintech space:
- 68% said their organization’s research information was stored in too many locations
- 66% said they could not access all their research data in one place
- 36% believed they had sufficient tools for enabling timely, personalized research
- 35% stated that accessing relevant data was too time consuming
- 29% claimed their inability to access correct data impacted their ability to make optimal investment decisions
Even if you’re not working for a financial institution, there’s a pretty strong chance that you are experiencing similar pains in your organization. Information needs to be timely, accurate, relevant, and accessible. And, truth is, most organizations struggle with delivering on all four of those points. This has a direct impact on your business because your organization can waste hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of man-hours every year hunting down the information end users require in order to make informed decisions. Let’s find a way to give some of those hours back to ourselves and the organizations we work for.
The most common situation is that data is simply scattered all over your network in different silos and there’s no systematic approach to managing how it flows across your enterprise. Most organizations don’t do a great job of maximizing the value of their own data, and that means they’re leaving money on the table. As an IT professional you have the power to do something about it because solutions do exist and it’s going to be your job to recommend one for implementation.
If you need to do any of the following, then you don’t just need a database management tool, you need an automation management tool.
• Automatically run complex queries to extract data from multiple applications and deliver it to a central repository accessible by end users
• Automatically scan your database for extraneous copies of files and archive or delete them dependent on your organization’s data retention criteria
• Automatically move data around your network using event-driven conditionals. (If This, Then That)
• Automatically sort data and move it to appropriate locations based on criteria you determine
Automating your database management
The first step is to come up with a plan for mapping out and automating your dataflows. It’s critical the data moving across your network is auditable, secure, and findable. At its simplest, moving data from one place to another involves a series of tasks, and those tasks can be automated and scheduled, or set up to execute with event-based triggers. Whether it involves making two apps share data between the cloud and on-premises servers or moving data around the enterprise -- a workflow can be created to automate the process. This workflow can be complex and have multiple systems communicating with each other. You can even program it to skip certain steps if information is missing or an application fails.
Our automation platform, OpCon, is remarkably flexible, cost-effective, and scalable, and might be the solution you’re looking for. We add value by orchestrating the overall flow of data between applications throughout your enterprise. We can make sure every agent that needs to communicate can do so as well as notify you if it’s not able to. Using OpCon you can automatically execute repetitive tasks based on criteria you decide on. It is event-driven, meaning it can wait for an event to happen and only act once the qualifying conditions you’ve decided on are met. You have complete control.
Let me illustrate an example of how this could be useful for you:
An end user enters data into an application hosted on one of your on-premises servers or into a cloud-based app. OpCon can talk to both, so it doesn’t really matter which one it is. As the systems administrator, you know that some of the data generated by that application is also useful to three other applications that are housed on various on-premises and cloud servers. Currently an end user must perform manual tasks within each application to extract data from one application and then input it into other applications. This can be tedious and error prone. When you make OpCon the central conductor, you can tie each of those manual steps within individual applications into a workflow automating each step. This significantly boosts reliability and productivity.
Building upon the previous example, let’s say that you want to make your data easy to find, but also want to archive, backup, or delete as much of it as possible from active drives to conserve network resources. Once you’ve determined the requirements of your end users, you can map out and install a workflow that automatically pulls the necessary files to a predetermined permissioned access directory, and automatically archive or delete files that are past the maximum time limit. This saves your end users time, and helps you keep a clean, organized database that delivers data to exactly where it needs to go. Accomplishing this will bring you joy the likes of which even Marie Kondo would be in awe of.
These are two very simple examples, and every company’s database administration protocols and needs are slightly different. The main takeaway here?
The solution to your database management involves a whole lot of automation.
It’s simply too complex of an undertaking to have a bunch of processes that are dependent on manual input. An advantageous feature of most automation solutions is that you can start small and build up your database management workflows job by job over time, rather than trying to migrate everything at once. While it’s certainly possible to do a big migration, most companies prefer to avoid the risks and costs associated with that. What you’ll want to look for is a task-based pricing model, which will give you flexibility to pay as you scale rather than paying a flat subscription fee that might be more expensive than your needs when your organization is initially beginning the automation process.
Whether you choose OpCon or a competing solution to meet your dataflow automation needs, I hope that this article has helped you formulate your plan for tackling this challenge. If you would like to talk about your organization’s challenges and see what we can do to provide you with additional ‘how to’, please fill out the contact us form below.
Thanks for reading, we look forward to helping you succeed.
About the author: Ben Demaree is Director of Product Management for SMA Technologies, where he bridges the gap between the clients and the development team to make sure that the clients have the best tool possible to meet their automation demands. When he's not at work, Ben spends his free time with his wife and four children and an interesting variety of pets.