From Offline to Digital With an Operational Data Store

In today’s business landscape, going digital seems the only viable road. At the core of this “digital transformation” is data and the many ways businesses can leverage it to increase efficiency while also reducing costs. This 1-2 combination has always been the goal of many businesses, but it has become especially challenging today due to the restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The market is in a constant state of flux due to ever changing customer behavior and sentiment caused by the so-called “new normal.” Consumers are forced to find alternative ways to shop and entertain themselves, and businesses have needed to follow suit so that they can stay afloat in these uncertain times.

Over a year of dealing with the pandemic, companies have discovered that online channels can be very profitable if used and managed properly. Companies not using online channels should take this time to set up and optimize the technology to ensure that they can take advantage of its short- and long-term benefits. A number of businesses have employed an omnichannel approach to enjoy the best of both worlds; as eCommerce becomes more prominent, companies have made it a point to make it a part of their marketing strategy. It’s predicted that, by 2023, 22% of global retail sales will be eCommerce purchases, from 14% in 2019. This change in shopping behavior is also predicted to remain constant in the foreseeable future, so businesses should reframe their strategies to make room for the optimization of online channels.

A digital transformation requires a rethinking of how a business approaches data. Fortunately, modern data tools like an operational data store (ODS) help address the main complaint most consumers have about a website or online service: slow response times. Slow, in this case, means not being fast enough to meet customer expectations, and the challenging part is that customers expect instant gratification. The benefits of a next-generation ODS like real-time data replication, always-on services, and high compatibility are designed to solve the problem of speed and efficiency, making it an ideal solution for data-centric businesses.

The Data-driven Business

A data-driven business requires a workplace culture that’s focused on data. As such, many organizations undergo some form of digital transformation to accommodate new, data-related systems and methodologies. Putting data at the core of the business presents a multitude of business benefits, making the transformation, though difficult and time-consuming, worth the effort and investment.

The huge amounts of data amassed by organizations make digital transformations large-scale and, therefore, will put pressure on conventional data architectures. By replicating systems of record, a modern ODS is able to reduce latency and increase throughput. Its use of in-memory computing helps businesses do away with their reliance on disk-based storage that requires constant read-write access, which is the most common cause of slowdowns within a system or network. Even if an organization’s data sources are vast, several, and disparate, an ODS is able to aggregate data to provide more comprehensive reporting across multiple systems. This provides a complete view of data that leads to actionable insights that can help in better business decision-making.

Technically, the modern ODS acts as an intermediary to a data warehouse so that it can store the most recent version of frequently accessed data and put it closer to the user. Focused on operational data, it allows for fresh-data reporting that can be achieved quicker and more seamlessly, giving users more time to focus on analyzing the data and coming up with next steps and data-driven strategies.

Benefits of a modern ODS also include the following:

  • Increased speed of data ingestion and processing
  • Application support for high user concurrency
  • Support for peak volumes by avoiding over-provisioning
  • Quick deployment of new applications and services
  • Infrastructure compatibility with cloud-based and hybrid architectures

Why Use an ODS?

Companies planning to implement a modern ODS can choose an out-of-the-box solution for convenience, but there’s no need to rip-and-replace a currently existing system. Before choosing a solution for your organization, examine existing solutions and see what’s currently working. Then look at what elements your current system is lacking and base your modernization plans on those. By augmenting your existing ODS system with modern layers, digital transformation won’t be that disruptive or painful.