Decoupling data from applications for internal and external data sharing enhances its value in the business ecosystem but also presents new challenges
ATLANTA — June 7, 2012 —
As companies begin to uncouple data from applications to enable richer services both internal and external to their organizations, new considerations arise that can speed up as well as slow down adoption of data sharing using data-as-a-service. This is according to Liaison Technologies, a global provider of secure cloud-based integration and data management services and solutions, which is helping organizations to better understand the game-changing technology trend and its potential impact on business ecosystems.
Data-as-a-service enables users to access data on demand. Most of these services are based on one-directional hub and spoke models where people access data stored in a data service and then create isolated data pools, which are not usable to anyone else. In this model, data is not shared, which defeats the data-as-a-service intent. What’s worse is if the data pool isn’t constantly refreshed, a break is created in the data value chain that causes data to quickly become stale and inaccurate.
“A healthy data value chain will have many consumers who may not continue the chain, but won’t store a snapshot view of the data they use,” said Robert Fox, senior director of B2B/EAI Software Development at Liaison. “Instead, data will freely flow in and out of the core data sets as needed to keep data updated and accurate. The goal is to lay out the services in a way that eliminates isolated data pools and produces a healthy ecosystem of data services for all.”
In the preferred model, data-as-a-service providers interweave to increase the value of data and promote data refreshment and reuse. The synergistic benefit comes when two or more services can feed each other, enabling the ecosystem to grow the data chain value by way of enrichment between data consumers and producers.
According to Fox, organizations using data services need to show the value in decoupling data from applications and create an open service-oriented architecture that allows data to be shared internally and externally.
Organizations that publish and subscribe to data services must have confidence the information is accurate and current; otherwise, the model fails. Consequently, one of the difficulties in shifting to an architecture that enables data-as-a-service lies in changing the traditional IT philosophy of data ownership to one of data stewardship, where every individual and organization that participates in the data value chain becomes responsible for maintaining the quality of the data.
Other challenges include:
- Cost vs. Value — The level of effort required to decouple data from an application must be weighed against the value of doing it. In many instances, organizations may be better served by abandoning the data store altogether and subscribing to a data service that can provide the information in real-time.
- Privacy Concerns — When an organization decides to share data to other applications and services outside the current application or departmental walls — whether it is to other departments within the organization or to external organizations — privacy must be ensured, especially when mandated by federal law.
- Data Security — Sensitive data being shared via data services, especially between networks, must be secured in transit and at rest and access must be controlled. A solid data security plan must be established to avoid breaches and misuse of confidential information.
“Before a true revolution in data-as-a-service can occur, organizations must be convinced of the value and they must meet the inherent challenges of freeing and sharing data,” said Christopher Hale, VP of Global Product Marketing at Liaison. “Decoupling data from applications for sharing has far-reaching benefits that can’t always be quantified by sheer monetary savings or gains, so it’s up to IT to show the advantages using other, often less tangible, criteria. These can include easier data-handling, smoother logistics and increased customer satisfaction.”
Liaison Technologies is a global data management and integration company. It provides innovative solutions to integrate, transform, harmonize, manage and secure critical business data on-premise or in the cloud. With a comprehensive array of business-to-business and application-to-application integration and data transformation services, as well as on-premise and cloud-based data security solutions, Liaison’s practitioners implement data management infrastructures adapted to each client’s specific business requirements. Headquartered in Atlanta, Liaison has offices in the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit liaison.opentext.com.
Liaison and the Liaison logo are trademarks of Liaison Technologies, Inc. All other names or product names mentioned in this release are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.