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Data Fabric Technology: Top 4 Reasons to Use It

Rob Vanderzyppe, Appian
March 3, 2023

Today, data is the lifeblood of every organization. Without it, you’re left without key insights into business processes, consumers, employees, and the overall health of your entire organization.

And here’s the scariest part: most organizations are on life support due to their inability to properly manage their data and turn it into actionable insights.

What is data fabric technology?

Data fabric technology can help in a significant way, which is why it’s been getting so much buzz recently. Data fabric technology integrates data across disparate sources and creates a unified data model through a virtualized data layer. Data fabrics let you leave your existing data architecture intact, pulling directly from your current data sources and updating them in real time.

[ Want to learn more about what a data fabric is and how it works? Check out our Data Fabric Guide. ]

So why is a data fabric approach the solution to your complex data challenges? Here are a few good reasons to implement a data fabric tool.

1. Development agility and scalability.

A data fabric architecture provides consistent capabilities for all development across data-driven applications. Every enterprise has data living in disparate systems and hybrid multi-cloud environments. Without a data fabric, these hybrid environments require sophisticated data engineering skills to integrate data into applications and cause significant delays to business application development.

With data fabric technology, data can be easily accessed, managed, and analyzed, regardless of its location or format. Whether it’s transactional or operational, structured or unstructured, it can be rapidly integrated with the virtualization tools in data fabric solutions. Without the burden of data migration or complex database tuning, development teams can move much faster when they need to add new data sources or create new relationships between data.

This also helps you scale your data across applications. Because of the unified architecture it created, you can simply tap into whatever data you need through the data fabric. So once your data fabric is set up, your development teams can reuse it over and over again.

2. Unified analytics.

Data fabric technologies give you a single source of truth for all of your data across the organization. Data fabrics use a virtualized data layer to extract data from any source into a single model for you to use. By unifying data in this way, businesses can gain a more complete and accurate view of their operations, customers, and markets, leading to improved decision-making and better business outcomes.

This unified data model provides you with a full picture of your entire enterprise and also gives you the ability to extend your data and create advanced analytics that weren’t possible before.

Say you want to fully map your customers' journey with your organization. This requires an enhanced customer record with data from your marketing software, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and a variety of other legacy applications that contain other interactions with them (e.g., requests, in-person interactions, etc.)

With data fabric technology, you can bring these fields together in a single view and even combine data points from different systems to create new, custom metrics.

3. Real-time insights.

On top of a unified view, data fabric technology provides you with insights in real time. Once again, the virtualized data layer plays an important role here. This part of data fabric technology will consistently communicate updates, both reading and writing data, to and from the original data source. This ensures your data is always up-to-date and improves time to insights for all business leaders.

Having this kind of business-ready data makes it faster than ever to make data-driven decisions. Whether you want to optimize a business process or improve the customer experience, having unified, real-time data allows everyone to make the best possible decisions and waste less time waiting for data—or even worse, to make decisions without any data at all.

[ Want to learn more on how to get real-time insights? Get the eBook: The Data Fabric Advantage. ]

4. Centralized data security.

Perhaps the most important reason to use data fabric technology is for the ability to confidently secure your data at every level. Because everyone that needs to access your data is doing it through a data fabric architecture, you have the ability to restrict access even at the most granular levels.

Does a certain user group need to be able to edit every aspect of a customer’s record, but only in their territory? This could be challenging without a data fabric, as their employee’s territory lives in the human resources (HR) system and the customer record is scattered across multiple CRM systems and even a couple of custom relational databases.

This is the power of data fabric technology. It unifies data across these disparate systems and allows you to quickly secure data across sources based on a data field in a completely separate system. What was once a monumental task for development teams has become a simple control in a data fabric system.

Data fabric technology takeaways.

Data fabric technology can revolutionize the way your organization operates. Its integration capabilities allow you to discover, unify, secure, and optimize data in ways that previously weren't possible without complex data engineering and frequent maintenance. With a single, unified architecture for your enterprise data, you can dramatically improve the agility and the data-driven nature of your business.

[ Discover how you can eliminate data silos with an integrated data fabric: Watch our on-demand webinar. ]