April 15, 2021 6:38 PM

Creating a Connected Data Ecosystem: The Key to Achieving Impact at Scale

Ayesha Saini

In today’s information economy, data is at the heart of every business. Regardless of the industry, it is rare to find an organization – especially a large and complex one – where data needs to be controlled yet flexibly used.

As a company on a digital transformation path, you require a long-term, resilient data ecosystem with an enabling master data architecture. Creating great digital commerce experiences requires you to use data both as a single version of the truth and to create positive customer experiences at scale.

But how can you drive impact in a way that’s not only data-informed but also make sure it’s connected, scalable, and safe – for your users and your business?

The common barriers to a ‘data ecosystem’ solution

Like any other biological ecosystem, your data ecosystem must keep evolving and adapting. Every organization starts to build its own enterprise application ecosystem system by filling in the missing pieces in their digital platform.

Siloed applications

This may include a combination of hundreds, if not thousands, of clunky on-prem, SaaS, or cloud services applications (e.g., PLM/ERP/CRM), operating in multiple tiers of different operating systems.

Difficulty in analyzing information

Over time you find it challenging to aggregate and analyze information from multiple data sources such as legacy software, e-commerce platforms, marketplaces, or customer and partner platforms.

For example, let’s take a customer 360-degree use case. A retailer wanting to create personalized marketing offers would need traditional customer demographic and psychographic data, social media data, geolocation data, data from suppliers, and CRM systems, to name a few.

No cohesive way to drive collaboration

You find there is no easy way to drive internal exploration to the right corporate data, let alone a single source or view of that data, or pursue any new data-sharing or analyzing opportunities.

Despite having what you consider a best-of-breed technology environment, you may find it difficult to build deeper data and analysis connections across your enterprise ecosystem.

Poor customer experiences

Ultimately, inaccurate data sharing and data silos will not only lead to a suboptimal operational direction for you, but your customers will suffer from poorer experiences.

These experiences are not limited to – improperly targeted marketing and promotions, ununified product data, partner/vendor data that is error-filled due to bad integration or duplicative database feeds, and so on.

And before you know it, your customer has moved on to another company providing a more confident and encompassing buying experience.

How to Create a Connected Data Ecosystem That Works for You

A master data ecosystem has to handle all of your data domains: product, customer, vendor, location, route, etc.

A cloud-native, master data management platform helps teams integrate multiple data sources, provide embedded analytics and AI tools to automate and track data, system, and user cohorts so teams can respond to opportunities faster.

Here are the three elements that work together to create a thriving data ecosystem:

#1. Data Integration

A data decision report from Exasol shows that 58% of organizations make decisions based on outdated or inaccurate data. Even if a company receives all its data, the information typically resides in separate data sources.

Pulling information from all those different sources is no small feat. There are challenges of data quality, data preparation, and storing, securing, and cataloging the right data in a complex data-provider market with data lakes and data warehouses.

That means sophisticated data integration efforts become central to your operations.

So as you begin evolving towards an integrated, data-driven agile enterprise, start by integrating your existing data infrastructure and growing into a hybrid cloud ecosystem.

We suggest you look at it this way – use a master data experience management initiative to create a strategic advantage.

If you are playing with a poor stack (thus creating poor customer experiences), you can improve your market game to your strategic favor by tying together all disparate sources of your data, making sure that data is accurate, and have a constant feedback loop of that data for your analysis and future planning.

Integration strategies for businesses

Integration requires combining and consolidating data from disparate sources (and formats) in an easy automated way in real-time to drive supply chain efficiencies. These include:

  • Manual or portal based data integration
  • Middleware data integration
  • Standardized API connectivity or connectors
  • Hybrid cloud integration

With a well-defined integration architecture, you ensure your master data is not siloed but instead is enriched and available for use at the right places at the right time to the right person.

The Riversand Master Data Experience Management Platform (MDxM) helps businesses consolidate data virtually from any source – internal or external systems, partners or customers, structured or unstructured data – on the same platform.

Additionally, platform software development kits (SDKs) help our customers and partners to build and extend their own integrations experiences, realizing the full potential of enterprise data ecosystems while not sacrificing the power and value of your cloud-native master data.

#2. Master Data – Serving as a central source of truth

Master data management (MDM) remains a key enabler technology to manage, connect, and drive consumer experiences in a multi-domain context.

A connected MDM integrates data from other applications in the data ecosystem – cleansing, normalizing, analyzing, and enriching it to help you and your team better meet your customers’ expectations across various distribution channels.

As a multi-domain, cloud-based unified repository, MDM contains one authoritative copy of all crucial data domains, such as customer, supplier, and product details.

It also had robust data governance, stewardship, and analytical controls to ensure that the data can be relied on completely, with insights using a common language that is not specific to a particular business unit or function.

Undoubtedly, enterprise data ecosystems’ true potential is realized with an end-to-end connected platform solution that scales with you. Such a platform enables you to innovate faster without compromising privacy or data security. You can even safely pilot new programs, partnerships, and AI/ML tools to deepen relationships across divisions.

#3. Data Syndication

Convenience is everything now. All in all, e-commerce is becoming more competitive than ever. And it would be best if you had enough agility and flexibility in your tech stack to ensure you can pivot and adapt to changing customer needs.

Data syndication helps companies connect and send the right product information to any downstream source in their cloud stack, in an automated way, without worrying about the intricacies of information delivery.

With a common source of master data as the centerpiece of the data puzzle, you can create multiple versions of truths (or outreach) that support superior decision making – and drive personalized experiences for your team, your customers, and your vendor network.

Your data has relevance and purpose again. Use it to your advantage:

  • Get Direct and Connect: Connect to external marketplaces and e-commerce systems on the cloud or on-premise. Use direct connectors to connect with strategic accounts and channels such as Amazon, Shopify, or Walmart.
  • Relevance through Extensibility: Extend reach through a hub-of-hubs partner network. Connect to thousands of channels or industry-standard data pools such as GDSN, ETIM, or Auto Care in any format.
  • Have it your way: Build additional connectors using the Riversand SDK hosted on the platform.
  • Be Unlimited: Make a deep connection to any web service.

It’s Your Data. Use it to create impactful experiences for all

Whether you need data to be sifted by channel, by product, region, or category, you can transform your data to experiences and unlock new revenue streams.

With the Riversand Master Data Experience Platform, you can connect with thousands of channels across geographies and industry verticals. Similarly, you can use our connectivity framework for direct connections, partner connections, and connector SDKs that deliver unparalleled extensibility. Easily scale data collaboration and partnerships across your organization and wider data ecosystem with adaptable technology and workflows.

With a central master data hub, you can design environments that collect, store, analyze, and act upon the data. Therefore, by integrating external and internal data into one responsive, unified master data architecture, you can unlock the full power of your data.

About The Author – Ayesha Saini

Ayesha Saini is a content strategist for Riversand.

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