Here’s our fourth article as part of our industry expert series with data analytics thought leader and TreeHive Strategy principal, Donald Farmer.

There’s one phrase I hear from almost every enterprise these days: data-driven. Strategy, operational decisions, marketing and even hiring: the modern business sees data as essential to success in all these areas. But as I have often said, data connectivity too often throws up a critical roadblock on this path. If you cannot acquire data from source systems, then you can neither integrate workflow nor analyze trends and patterns.

In this broad sense, data connectivity represents a general difficulty for IT. However, not all connectivity challenges are equal. If we look more closely at a couple of use cases, we soon find unique complications.

Keeping compliant in Financial Services

The Financial Services sector today faces some very specific challenges. In particular, just as businesses have grown more complex, regulations have been tightened over the years. The result is increasingly demanding compliance with legislation.

The complexity of financial services comes in many forms. International branches will, of course, need to comply with local legislation. Companies that grow through merger and acquisition – commonly found in this sector – will often have varied technical architectures. Even in a relatively simple business, data sources may reside on-premises or in the cloud … or both.

Simply connecting to data in this environment can represent a challenge in itself, but that need for regulatory compliance, and therefore the need for thorough governance, adds another layer of complexity.

For one thing, modern applications are updated frequently, or even continuously, compared to the more traditional cycle of annual upgrades. These updates can include changes to connectivity options and data formats. You’ll find this particularly true in the case of cloud applications over which the IT department may have little architectural control. In these cases, even when committed to a few core financial applications, keeping up with the latest drivers and formats is not just a convenience, it stands out as a basic prerequisite for regulatory compliance. Traditional connectivity solutions, whether involving third-party drivers or custom code, have not been designed for this kind of continuous maintenance.

Diversity in marketing

Where Financial Services have a critical problem with compliance, marketing teams face a rather different challenge. Marketing technology (MarTech) forms a significant component of every marketing function. As the aim of marketing is to enable effective competition, teams often try novel products and solutions. This can build up a highly diverse portfolio of products, with new technologies being added regularly. Even a relatively simple portfolio can include CRM, eCommerce, your website, SEO, personalization, de-duplication software and more.

In the face of this diversity, marketing must analyze sales, customer interactions and trends using information from as many systems as possible. Traditional business intelligence – and increasingly data science – offers powerful analytic tools, but limited options for connectivity which may not keep up with the latest applications. Just as problematic, even when drivers are available: it can be difficult to provide a single point of connectivity that business users can easily access.

Consequently, analytics in marketing is too often focused on silos within the team. Your insights to customers from the CRM system may emerge from quite separate processes than your search engine results. In short, marketing may build a portfolio of tools more quickly than they can build an integrated view of data.

A gateway

Both of these examples, from Financial Services and Marketing, show the importance of data connectivity to any modern business. In fact, connectivity is now so critical to both compliance and competitive insights that we cannot leave it to ad-hoc drivers, SDKs, and code.

Rather, a business that looks to be thoroughly data-driven needs a single place to provision, manage and govern data connectivity and, subsequently, data usage.

The innovations from Magnitude’s Simba connectivity solutions offer such an approach.  For instance, with Magnitude Gateway, setting up and maintaining connectivity is improved with intelligent adapters – which are optimized for the metadata of complex applications – a wide range of standard adapters, and high-performance universal drivers. This approach simplifies deployment and maintenance for IT, while it also greatly clarifies access to data for business users who need to integrate and analyze across the stack.

Whether you need well-governed compliance for financial services or simple diverse connectivity for marketing, Simba solutions from Magnitude can support challenging scenarios. Being priced with a subscription model also helps to manage costs and to bring under control the otherwise complex license of connectivity.

No one product can solve all the problems of diversity and complexity in the modern business, but a gateway for connectivity is a great first step towards the goal of being genuinely data driven.