Daniel Buchuk

What is Data Fabric Architecture?

Forrester analysts coined the term “Data Fabric” which has recently turned into a business/tech category in itself. With business users wanting faster and better access to data to help their decision-making process, and tech organizations trying to simplify data management, the concept of data fabric is the layer of data that is available throughout an organization – democratizing access to data and insights.

What is Data Fabric?

There are dozens of definitions about what data fabric is, but probably IBM’s is the most comprehensive one. They define data fabric as “an information architecture that unifies data across an organization”. Agnostic to data environments, processes, use and geography, this architecture helps automate data discovery, data governance and data consumption to deliver business-ready data for analytics and AI.

By unifying data across an organization, data fabric democratizes access to data at scale. It is no surprise that Gartner selected “data fabric” as one of the “Top 10 Data and Analytics Technology Trends for 2021” and predicted that by 2024, 25% of data management vendors will provide a complete framework for data fabric.

What type of organization needs data fabric?

The concept of data fabric is particularly important for enterprises which have scaled their data capabilities using disjointed tools, platforms and systems across teams and divisions – and as a result have created silos which makes it difficult to reap unified benefits of data across the entire organization. 

The main purpose of data fabric is to help democratize data access across the enterprise, at scale. It works as a single, unified architecture,  with an integrated set of technologies and services, designed to deliver integrated and enriched data. This approach to streamline and unify data management processes can have profound business impact, a Forrester study Forrester study revealed the tangible business value of applying a unified Data Fabric architecture for an enterprise which included on average:

  • 459% increase in Returns on Investment
  • $5.8 Million business benefits on average
  • 60X accelerated data delivery time
  • 20X faster customer affinity analyses

Key Benefits & Attributes of Implementing Data Fabric in Your Organization

1. Unified Data Governance & Compliance

Data silos create massive headaches and challenges when it comes to data integration. Many organizations have their data spread across numerous databases, files, data warehouses, multiple clouds, and on-premises. Companies also often build silos of data lakes, warehouses, and platforms to support specific team needs. In addition, an increased number of data privacy regulations is putting pressure on organizations to implement stronger data security measures and compliance protocols – which can delay insights or new application development. 

2. Data Agility

In a Forrester Analytics survey, data and analytics decision-makers often cited support for real-time and near-real-time data as a top data management requirement, especially to support new mobile apps. However, traditional data architectures fail to meet these new real-time data requirements, slowing down insights and application development.

In order to make organizational data readily-available to all stakeholders, data teams need to “rewire” existing systems so that data isn’t in locked  up repositories that can’t be accessed without help from technology teams. One of the main upsides of establishing a data fabric architecture across an organization is that data will be readily available to employees, partners and customers in real time.

3. Democratization of Data

Business users are increasingly used to managing data and analytics platforms. In fact, they demand more self-service data solutions, so that they don’t have to rely on tech and data teams to access the insights they need. This democratization of data can only happen if on the one hand the business user has the required level of data literacy to produce the insights or reports needed, but also if the right infrastructure exists so that he doesn’t need to rely on data or tech teams to “mine” for the right data from the right repository. This independence will be a crucial step to empower teams with the agility they need to succeed.

Is your business operating in silos? Ready to democratize your data? Chat with a data expert who’s ready to assist and guide you through the process.