Our digital hyperactivity produces 2.5 exabytes of data every day – the storage space needed for that much information is the equivalent of 150 million iPhones. And that amount will only increase with the proliferation of more types of connected devices.
Organizations of all sizes are no strangers to big data, but many were unprepared for its ever-increasing volume, variety, and velocity. Most business technology is optimized for an earlier age when consumers didn’t generate nearly as much information at the pace they do today, and few devices were connected the way they are now.
As CMOs build out more data-driven marketing teams to contend with this ongoing data onslaught, they also need to consider how to evolve their data management architecture. That architecture needs to support the data analyses and real-time decisioning required to meet the demands of today’s always-on consumer.
There are three main questions CMOs should be asking about their data management architecture:
Is It Fast?
The requisite speed of a data management architecture depends on the organization’s data needs. Transactional systems, for example, move at a slower pace, so using a traditional database will usually suffice. Systems of customer engagement, however, should move in real time to account for constantly changing customer interactions and expectations.
Another reason for an agile data management architecture: speed to market. Faster access and processing will allow marketers to potentially get ahead of the competition, react swiftly to trends, and respond quickly to customer actions. This responsiveness to market changes can build a competitive advantage.
CMOs should look for no-code environments that democratize data access – providing faster access for data analysts, as well as easy access for business users. This allows anyone in the organization to ask the questions they want and get the information they need without learning a coding language or attending time-consuming training just to learn a system’s functionality.
Does It Scale?
Systems unable to keep pace with the ballooning volume of data are becoming a business bottleneck. The optimal data management architecture must be able to ingest and process billions of records, or the system is a short-term Band-Aid rather than a long-term investment.
Time to insight is one of the most valuable metrics CMOs can use as a guide to building out the right data management architecture. CMOs should look for systems that can handle parallel and distributed processes. This will dramatically reduce the time from data ingestion to insight – and, as noted above, speed is crucial today. Linear processing may be effective for smaller databases and longer-term needs, but distributed processes will only increase in importance as data volumes grow.
Can It Adapt?
The ideal data management architecture for today’s ever-changing data environment can handle a multitude of data types, including structured, semi-structured, and unstructured. It should also be adaptable enough to operate using a variety of storage options, such as a data lake or data warehouse. And, it should be flexible enough to handle all current and future types of business and consumer data – whether that data comes through a database or file, a transactional system, a social media platform, an IoT device, or any of the multitude of current data sources, as well as those yet to be imagined.
CMOs should look for systems that are flexible enough to evolve over time, as well as adaptable enough to remove friction from data access and management processes. The easier it is for marketers to access and use data, the more successfully they can engage and serve customers – effectively removing friction from their customers’ lives.
Speed, Scale, and Flexibility
Data-driven marketing requires a data management architecture that supports the extensive data analyses and real-time decisioning marketers need to meet their customers’ ever-rising and ever-changing expectations.
When an organization’s data management architecture is fast and flexible, its marketing is more relevant and responsive. And that’s exactly what it takes to engage and convert today’s distracted and demanding customers.