In the classic Ghostbusters movies para-psychologists save New York City from being overrun by ghosts. While there may well be some long-deceased software lurking on a dusty mainframe, today’s large organisations are not being held to ransom by ghosts but by the proliferation of data silos. Many of these new silos are an unexpected fall-out from the digital transformation drive that is sweeping big business. The task of silo busting just got tougher.
We’re now in a world where Chief Transformation Officers (CTOs) are in the hot seat and two-speed (or bi-modal) IT is the name of the game. DevOps projects along the lines of those successfully implemented by start-ups and unicorns are injecting a faster pace of change and greater agility into large organisations, with the goal of improving competitiveness. But what works for unicorns isn’t turning out to be quite as smooth a journey for many brownfield enterprises.
Of course, there are some great examples of customer-facing applications built on DevOps foundations that are delivering good results for large organisations. But drill down a little and it’s likely that the data used by these new applications is in a shiny new silo that is not integrated with the other enterprise data residing in legacy silos.
A data-centric approach
There are two ways in which CTOs can approach this two-speed IT disconnect:
- Focus on creating processes that establish a model for integration. The goal is to ensure that the data collected in one app gets sent over to the old system(s) and stays in both silos. However, the value of this approach is limited because it allows no relation or queries between silos, and any transactions across silos are complex and cumbersome to orchestrate and manage.
- Take a data-centric approach and aggregate all the data from the old and new silos in an operational data hub (ODH). The hub works as the glue between the old and new IT systems, creating a virtual filing cabinet of all the organisation’s data that can be mixed and matched to unearth new business critical insights. This model provides the best outcome for organisations undergoing digital transformation, because it overcomes the data integration challenges yet offers the utmost flexibility.
As DevOps moves towards becoming mainstream in the enterprise and public sector, the reality of how to integrate ever increasing volumes and types of data from new customer- and business-facing applications with the vast volumes of legacy data looms over many organisations. Right now we are seeing just the tip of the digital transformation iceberg. Two-speed IT will be here for a while yet, meaning that finding the digital data equivalent of a ghostbuster to break down those silos is no longer a phantom concern but a very real one.
This article originally appeared in ITProPortal. To read the full article, click here.