As a new mindset, methodology and practice within data management, DataOps focuses on improving the communication, integration and automation of data flows to simply and successfully help developers, IT and the business create real-time data experiences and reduce the risk of project failure. DataOps enables developers and organizations to better adapt to fast changing business requirements to become data driven.
DataOps, like DevOps, aims to provide continuous delivery of new capabilities with higher quality, but it’s focus is on data rather than putting technology and application development first. A DataOps approach ensures data pipelines are deployed, SLAs are met and that data versioning, compliance and auditing are in place. It also helps improve visibility into the quality of data.
How Can Enterprises Maximize the Value of the Digital Data They’re Collecting?
Organizations need to move quickly, and the faster knowledge is in the hands of those with domain expertise, the higher the value.
Enterprises need to react quickly to events, both digital and physical, because the rate at which data value perishes increases with time. The key to understanding and interpreting this stream of data is to be able to share and disseminate the information to those with the business and domain expertise, without the typical time-consuming back and forths. If we take the current coronavirus outbreak, we can use technology to track and correlate but if we can’t share it with the medical professionals in a usable real-time form, we lose.
The way Babylon Health does this is a great example of bringing in DataOps practices that reduce the turnaround time in delivering healthcare data to medical professionals and patients.
They have adopted DataOps. All their data personas (engineers, analysts, etc.) have different needs but use the data integration platform in the same way. For them, DataOps is a big reason why they have been able to expand and offer so many great AI healthcare data products in many countries so quickly.
What’s the Best Way to Build an Effective Data Optimization Strategy?
Organizations need to provide developers with tools that bind data technologies, increase data literacy, promote and incentivize data sharing, while ensuring it comes with transparency to protect data ethics.
Data optimization comes from knowledge and adoption of DataOps practices. When companies deliver data to those with domain knowledge and cut out the complex IT and engineering processes—currently in between the data and that knowledge—data projects succeed.
This practice ensures that focus remains on the business and its needs, with technology as an enabler.
Organizations must also stop thinking that one data solution fits all. Instead, they should use a data mesh leveraging best-of-breed data technologies and look for a solution that makes those technologies accessible to anyone, not an elite few.
Increasing data literacy and working with a common language, such as SQL, is a key best practice. For example, Airbnb has been very successful increasing its line of business employee data literacy through its Data University courses. When business partners and developers leverage SQL to solve their problems it reduces barriers to optimizing data.
Organizations must also drive a mindset of data sharing by including measurement of teams and individual performance on how much data they share across their organization. When teams and people know data sharing is part of their performance evaluation they are more likely to take steps and adopt practices needed to be effective in their data sharing.
However, with increased democratization of data, and a higher data-sharing policy, comes the need for greater transparency to ensure data ethics are upheld. Look for tools that increase observability to uphold data ethics. Improved transparency into who is doing what with the data also enhances accountability.
What Are the Leading Data Optimization Challenges?
Organizations struggle to provide timely access to data with governance, with developer productivity and getting applications that process data to production.
A big contributor to this is that many data platforms have a number of open source technologies. The industry has not accounted for how these technologies can be easily integrated into an organization. Platform teams spend too much effort integrating these individual technologies—when solutions exist that allow them to instead focus on delivering products to market.
This wasted time and inefficient use of talent exacerbates the existing skills shortage.
A further challenge is changing mindsets. How can organizations ensure and encourage developers and engineers to select technologies that best support business initiatives and not technology for technology’s sake?
How Can IT Leaders Bring Their Staff Up to Speed on the Latest Data Optimization Technologies and Practices?
We are now in an era of commoditized technology. Previously complex and hard to manage open source projects are now offered as managed services by all major clouds, along with every incarnation of data store possible. Importantly, they also provide features an organization needs in order to be successful. For example, encryption and secret management, not to mention the compute resources to deal with the ever increasing data workloads.
Tech intensity is upon us. Let’s not recreate technology that has been commoditized, and focus instead on building data intensity with a real-time DataOps approach.
The question is not about upskilling developers and IT, but about enabling business partners to be more data literate so they can self serve.
Developers can help by working to build a culture focused on what the business needs and switching the mindset from the line of code to the daily, weekly, monthly outcome to deliver bottom line improvements to the business.
People perform better from a business perspective when they care about the product the business delivers versus what framework they use with solutions that are ill suited to business needs.
Developers should also measure their success. Having objectives and key results (OKRs) is a great framework to establish goals and a roadmap to achieve them, but they must be aligned with the OKRs of the business. Organizations should move away from 360 reviews because they are fraught with irrelevance to business goals and political intent.
A better approach is to educate developers on the goals of the business, then the department and the team. Make them feel part of the machinery, give them the chance to have a say and get involved to yield better outcomes.