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Transform Your Business Processes with an Enterprise Data Fabric Solution

Rob Vanderzyppe, Appian
November 22, 2022

With the explosion of digital innovation, there has been an equal explosion in tools and techniques to wrangle the ever growing amount of data.  Maybe you’ve heard of

  • Data Warehouses
  • Data Lakes
  • Data Mesh

But among the hottest new trends is building a Data Fabric.

What is a data fabric?

Gartner defines a data fabric as “a design concept that serves as an integrated layer (fabric) of data and connecting processes”.

A data fabric connects data across systems to create a unified view without needing to move data from where it currently lives. This provides a core capability for the composable design of business applications leveraging multiple systems.

And according to Gartner, there are robust benefits to this architecture. Using a data fabric reduces time for integration design by 30%, deployment by 30% and maintenance by 70% because the technology designs draw on the ability to use/reuse and combine different data integration styles. (Gartner, 2021)

Data Fabrics connect siloed systems such as CRMs, ERPs, collaboration systems, etc. for seamless use across workflows and applications.

Why do you need an enterprise data fabric solution?

Organizations are dealing with massive unpredictability and uncertainty across the world right now. Specifically, they are struggling to find the resources they need to efficiently meet their business goals and drive a competitive advantage while still having the flexibility to change as markets shift. The same is true when looking at data management in the enterprise. As data continues to explode in size and microservices become more ubiquitous, current data management architectures will struggle to keep up.

An IDC survey last year stated that more than half of respondents said they were overwhelmed with the amount of data they worked with.

A lot of these data issues have to do with enterprises' increased collection of data without increasing the connection between it. More data silos lead to trickier integrations, slower development, and ultimately fewer data-driven insights for the business. And even when you do try to bring everything into a single place with data warehouses and data lakes, it forces you to venture on a months if not years long journey to migrate your data.

This is where data fabric architectures can provide real business value to your organization. Simplified system integrations through a wide variety of low-code tools create faster app development and delivery to your business units, allowing them to digitally transform their processes for greater efficiency.

And with a data fabric in place, it doesn’t even need to just be the development team that is creating data models and applications. Data fabrics provide a secure method for business teams to develop apps and workflows as the centralized data architecture gives you a full picture of the visibility and usage of the organization’s data.

When you’re building organizational workflows and apps to improve your processes your data is the foundation. A data fabric lets you keep your data where it is and gives you a fast, scalable way to unify data and build powerful apps that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

Getting started with data fabric.

Building and establishing a data fabric does not need to take place everywhere in the organization all at once. One of the many benefits of a data fabric is that they can evolve over time.

Once you’ve connected several systems in a data fabric you can begin to recognize additional use cases and business units that fall into similar spaces and patterns of data usage and can begin to expand the data fabric to connect additional silos.

It’s all about keeping your current infrastructures the way they are and utilizing the data fabric to quickly connect them over time so that all of your data becomes available for every process, and every process is connected to all of your data.

Appian Data Fabric.

Organizations already have several existing systems and use Appian to build/enhance a process using the data they already have. Appian Data Fabric connects these silos to leverage data from anywhere letting you build powerful apps and workflows.

Appian Data Fabric is a virtual data layer that connects all of your existing systems and joins them together for improved process and application development. Data fabric keeps your data separate from your workflows and applications meaning you are not constrained by the physical data models and schemas of the underlying data sources in your organization. The data doesn’t have to be moved into the same system as where you’re building your applications, freeing you to develop at lightning speed and saving dozens of development hours on every project.

Data is the anchor of your business and applications. Data Fabrics truly provides a complete view of data from across your organization, accelerates application development, makes data updates easy, and enhances data security across all systems.

To learn more about how data is an essential part of your process automation strategy, be sure to check out the Gartner® Beyond RPA Report where it details how data can be used in your journey to hyperautomation.