4 min read

How to Flex & Scale any business data

This article offers three tips - consolidated from years of working within a wide range of organisations and across multiple industry sectors - leaving you only to consider when your readiness to execute a transformation to the next level...
How to Flex & Scale any business data
Photo Credits: Google - Dreamstime "Public Domain Image Bandwidth, Close-up, Computer"​

As a data leader in today's world, the scalability and flexibility of business data are constantly on my mind. Over the last twenty years, I have had the very unique privilege of being an insider in a diverse array of organisations - including banking, insurance, real estate, consulting, digital media, public sector and multilateral organisations. I have experienced some impressive success stories - but I have also witnessed just as many unsuccessful outcomes. By actively listening and living through the pain, I’ve gained a good understanding of how to scale - and sustain - business data, such as to radically enhance availability, pace and integrity.

First, identify your real estate

Can you imagine how large a property would need to be - in order to host all the data you might require - if your business were to become as successful as it could be? Now, double that size and consider how much real estate would be required to house all that data. Next, imagine finding land sufficient to host your ultimate data ambition. But consider that you need only to acquire a corner plot, adequate for your most pertinent data needs - for now - and that the rest of the land would be reserved for your future needs, for free!

A good example of this might be if you responded "I do not think it would be easy to estimate how big our business could get!". The simple answer to that would be, "the best real estate for you would be in the Cloud - as it provides unlimited growth potential.". Such a solid foundation would present the dual benefit of, not only providing ultimate flexibility for your future needs but also, keeping your current costs low (see previous blog where the idea of "more for less" is further explored).

If, on the other hand, the response was "Well, I know we are never likely to grow much beyond our current size.", then, it would be difficult to justify making radical changes - to your current business situation or data real estate (and, as such, the rest of this article may not be relevant to you).

Which of these best describes your business situation and mindset - or is yours more likely to be somewhere between the two extremes?

Second, build foundation with the flexibility of a mobile network

Consider the difference between building in concrete and building in lego. Mobile phone networks have the incredible characteristics of being both flexible and solid at the same time. Simply put, it only requires the establishment of additional cell sites to enable service expansion into ever broader coverage areas.

Likewise, for data, it pays to establish a framework atypical of the traditional - to ensure that your business data is not underpinned by such inherent obstacles as would slow your data down and impede the expedient delivery of your data products.

Today's technology landscape makes this much easier than it used to be - with the Cloud and its enabling BIG data service offerings. However, the most important - and perhaps most elusive - resource required to make this work, is people.

The other critical ingredient would be an enabling environment. As I alluded in a recent blog, it is essential that people feel sufficiently empowered to push those boundaries calcified over the years by "the way things have always been done". It is also essential that employees feel safe enough in the knowledge that such experimentation would fail fast and would be unlikely to significantly impact the broader technology landscape.

So, allow yourself - and your business - to embrace such a new mindset. Challenge yourself to maintain an open mind. Resist the temptation to stay frozen into status quo. Focus on your ultimate goal and double down when you feel like giving up.

Third, iteratively deliver small and discrete data services

Incredibly, a mobile phone network seamlessly allows new mobile phones to be brought online - and others taken offline - with no effect on the rest of the network. Every handset is discretely individual - yet unmistakably interconnected, with the entire network.

As with a mobile phone network, a key criteria for the success of your data landscape would be that it allows data products to be brought online or taken offline (for instance in the event of a failure) with no effect on the rest of the data landscape. Every data product is individually discrete, yet unmistakably interconnected, with the entire data landscape.

A recent post introduced the #SpeedInjectionModel - which is an approach to enabling such frictionless data - to radically enhance, not just the pace, but the availability and the integrity of your data.

The downside to this is that adapting such an ideology does require people with two essential qualities - the first being the inquisitive mind and the other being the capacity to be life-long learners. Such people are, unfortunately, in extremely high demand - which, by default, puts you and your business in direct competition with the most ambitious organisations within your markets. This might mean that you would have to work extra hard to attract or retain such talent. But what you and your business stand to gain - in innovation, flexibility, stability and scalability - should easily make any such extra hard work worth all the effort expended.

These three tips are my takeaways from years of working within a wide range of organisations and across multiple industry sectors. So, are you ready to move to that next level, or is there some work to be done in order to get you there? Do you have anything to add to this list? Do let me - and others - know in the comments below.

Thank you

Edosa would love to support your transformation from Organizational Visions into Quantifiable Data Value....

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