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Modern Data Architecture makes sense

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Structured and unstructured data, legacy to modern databases, cloud vs on-site storage….Is technical jargon surrounding modern data architecture obscuring the way forward?

Modern data architecture need not be a technical minefield. Let us offer you a clear guide for your data journey no matter which stage you start from.



Data and Analytics maturity has three main progressive stages, each offering a company more insight, control and automation over their data. The three stages are Descriptive, Predictive and Prescriptive. At the very least a Modern Data Architecture will offer you visualization and reporting to gain more insight into your business, and at the most you can have an automated system that identifies your next best course of action to achieve your objectives, putting you ahead of your competition.


Descriptive


Your business may consist of various units, each using their own data source and scripting

language.


To combine data from different sources is time consuming. Without a unified data model it is impossible to gain


an overview of your business for strategic decisions in real-time. To arrive at a point in the evolution where your data describes the true state of your business you need to ingest, process and store data to enable Reporting and Visualization.

TrueNorth Group's team builds the data pipelines to move data from all the different sources (transactions, customer portals, social media, weather, traffic, inventory, logistics etc.) in different scripting languages to the data warehouse (storage). From here you can extract value from your data, producing visualization and reporting that will inform strategic decisions backed by data.


Parallel to building the data pipelines you need to ensure your data storage is agile and cost-effective to not only cope with current data flow, but also the exponential growth in data ingestion of the immediate and distant future. This may mean moving all data to a cost-effective cloud-based warehouse or data lake that can grow with your business without large cost implications upfront, or combining on-premises data warehouses with cloud to satisfy your company's requirements.


TrueNorth Group once again has the experience to advise on the storage best suited for your business needs and budget, as well as the tools to migrate your data from on-premises to cloud-based with minimum disruption to your business operations.


At the end of this first stage your company will be processing data in vastly larger quantities, faster and more effectively and with TrueNorth Group's Power BI developers you will benefit from best-in-class, dashboards and reports guiding business decisions and operations.


PREDICTIVE



With all your data consolidated and accessible you can progress to the next stage by not only recognising how your business has performed (descriptive), but now analysing past behaviours to predict future outcomes using advanced analytics.


This is where TrueNorth Group's Data Analysts have superior skills to analyse information from your data, weighing and measuring data to ensure the most relevant and statistically significant data is used to identify key insights into your business. Organizing and preparing data so it can be used to solve problems, because having access to a treasure chest of data means nothing if you cannot differentiate between fool's gold and real gold. This point in the evolution becomes increasingly exciting once you

grasp the possibilities of predictive analytics and its

potential in different business functions.


As an example we can imagine the manager of a brick-and-mortar store having to order products into inventory. In the past having to rely on limited insights he would probably keep ordering the same amount each week, surprised by the fact that every other month he would be sitting with excess stock he had to price-cut to get off the shelves while seemingly randomly being understocked and dealing with irate customers. Through data analysis the random ups and downs in demand can be predicted and the manager can make informed inventory decisions translating into increased profits.


TrueNorth Group has a team of data scientists that take these analytics a step further by building models to automate these processes, and enlisting Machine learning and AI techniques to ensure that these models keep improving, moving the margin of accuracy closer and closer to the best model. TrueNorth Goup's data scientists have years of experience honing the art of choosing significant and indicative data points and building reliable models that predict trends and shifts based on a multitude of data inputs (seasonality, macro-economics, customer demand, global pandemics etc.).


At this point in the evolution your data is helping you predict the future of your business and the environment you are working in.


According to Forbes Magazine traditionally, the driving force behind decision-making has been the experience and instincts of business leaders. Experience and instincts are valuable, of course, but research confirms that businesses that base decisions on data – not instincts or experience – are 19 times more likely to be profitable.


PRESCRIPTIVE

This leads us into the last stage of our Modern Data Architecture evolution where your data helps you identify the next best course of action to achieve objectives and goals.

Your data has been compiled into a unified platform for a bird's eye view over the entire business financials and operations, showcased in easy to read Power BI reports and visualizations that can be communicated across the business units. The data has been expertly analyz

ed for insights, and models have been implemented to predict trends and shifts that will impact your business.


The last and crucial stage is where your data is working for you to prescribe the way forward. Prescriptive analytics works at answering the question “what do we need to do to achieve this

specific goal or objective?”. At this point your data is being analysed and modelled to create specific scenarios or situations, factoring in multi-dimensional information sets, enabling your data to suggest a course of action. These strategies can be for the immediate or long-term. You are no longer looking back, but your data is showing you what the future can hold when you've made certain decisions. Having the ability to predict future outcomes is a business's competitive advantage.


TrueNorth Group has the sought after skills of experienced data scientists to implement the algorithms using AI and ML to harness the prescriptive potential of your data, cutting through clutter and uncertainty. This is the power of simulating multiple scenarios and the probable outcomes to understand the level of risk beyond just weighing averages. You can plan ahead for worst-case scenarios placing you on much better footing if challenges should arise.


Even if you haven't formally considered a modern data architecture, your customer needs and business goals have certainly pushed you towards utilising your data in new ways, ingesting growing amounts of data and grappling with extracting the value you know exists within it.


When you partner with us to follow our 3-stage evolution we will guide you through the steps, wherever you might start from, to reach the full potential of your business faster, easier and with greater insight.


Contact us for a personal assessment of your progress towards modern data architecture and specific business needs on info@truenorthgroup.co.za





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