80 per cent of executives agree companies will lose competitive advantage if data is not leveraged fully: Vijay Yellapragada, executive director at EY GDS data analytics

In the first instance, a global pharma major was able to deliver clinical trials to the market 60 per cent faster with a 50 per cent decrease in operating cost.

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In the rapidly changing digital marketplace, newer companies that were formed within the past two decades held an obvious advantage over companies with legacy IT systems. New companies had digital natives built on a digital core that relied on distributed technologies. This has given them the ability to capture, track and analyse real-time customer interactions. As a result, companies have gotten smarter with every transaction due to increased efficiency and decreased costs, making them better equipped to respond at a faster pace to emerging threats and trends. At the first edition of the Data Engineering Summit 2022 organised by Analytics India Magazine, Vijay Yellapragada, the executive director at EY’s Global Delivery Services (GDS) Data Analytics, spoke about how data fabric now has come to play an important role in making organisations more resilient and achieve sustainable growth. 

       Source: Gartner

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Need to leverage data effectively

More than obtaining data, the focus has now shifted to how well companies are able to leverage the data. Yellapragada mentioned that according to Gartner, 80 per cent of executives agreed that companies will lose the competitive advantage if their data is not fully leveraged. There was an urgent need for solutions that could help organisations overcome challenges that were involved with harnessing the power of data. Data fabric is a paradigm shift in how companies stand to leverage data. The term was coined by Noel Yuhanna, the vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, in the mid-2000s. “It is not a new technology but a smart and intelligent unified service that can help companies accelerate their data transformation lifecycle,” Yellapragada explained. 

In the past, there were several issues like datasets being disconnected; there was no single definition of data or even platforms not having portability. On the need for data fabric, Yellapragada said, “Once you add a second database, it becomes harder to have data integrity and integration on the platform. Marketing campaigns needed to use real-time data.” By accessing data through one common platform, the data fabric solution provides a single view of data that was previously housed in separate data lakes and warehouses. This has led to an increase in the sharing of real-time data owing to using data fabric. 

Source: Microsoft Ignite, EY leaders and US Data and AI leaders discuss how to optimise data using EY Microsoft Data Fabric

Applications of data fabric

In the recent past, the usage of the architectural concept of data fabric has risen due to the public adoption of cloud. Yellapragada listed the several benefits of using a data fabric, which included data security, integration, governance, access to real-time data, lower costs and quicker access. There were several use-cases of a typical data fabric, such as Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) and sustainable reporting, infrastructure complexity and cost, and so on. 

“With the creation of a semantic layer, companies can apply AI and other data analysis tools to understand new trends and revamp go-to-market strategies in days instead of weeks,” Yellapragada stated. Adoption of data fabric helps developers avoid building multiple algorithms and build frameworks that are more flexible and open source. It helps businesses identify between internal and external data and also helps democratise data so that all departments within the company have equal access to real-time data. 

Source: EY, EY Data fabric

Yellapragada concluded the talk with a quick description of a couple of EY case studies to measure the positive impact that data fabric had. In the first instance, a global pharma major was able to deliver clinical trials to the market 60 per cent faster with a 50 per cent decrease in operating cost. The project also saw a considerable rise in data-sharing. A similar result was observed in a second instance of ESG sustainable activity reporting. 

Yellapragada underlined how EY’s data fabric had unlocked the value for several companies. He said, “Companies in the middle of an IT transformation can often reduce at one-seventh the cost per transaction, enabling the implementation of a plan to progressively decommission the legacy systems. The data fabric solution also helps companies without a digital core to launch new ventures that turn them into digital natives at the outset, setting up operations that are significantly more efficient.”

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Poulomi Chatterjee
Poulomi is a Technology Journalist with Analytics India Magazine. Her fascination with tech and eagerness to dive into new areas led her to the dynamic world of AI and data analytics.

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