By Bob Renner, CEO, Liaison Technologies
For years, IT professionals have put monolithic applications at the center of their IT solar systems. And just as orbiting planets are bound by the gravitational pull of their sun, application-centric organizations are bound by the constraints of their enterprise application. For example, data integration, data analysis, and even data itself (as an artifact) is largely determined by the applications at play.
In an application-centric IT environment:
- Data is locked up in applications and hard to extract
- Applications drive data models and data integration
- Insights and analysis are artificially constrained
- Specific use cases or functions drive application logic
- Data enrichment must be accomplished through application enhancement
- Applications can’t be easily changed
As data increasingly becomes a business’ most valuable asset, the constraints that application-centric IT models inherently put on data are becoming… constraining. Organizations are realizing that data, not applications, must drive business strategy.
To accommodate this, some businesses have begun realigning their IT architecture to make data the ‘star’ around which everything revolves. Applications, then, become the new planets, existing only because the data—or more precisely, the needs of the data—allow them to exist. This is commonly referred to as a data-centric or information-centric IT model.
In a data-centric IT environment:
- A virtual data factory (ETL, ESB, MDM, registries, etc.) lives at the center
- Many smaller applications take the place of a single enterprise application
- Valuable data can come from any source
- New data sources are assimilated quickly and effectively
- Data models are abstracted from source applications and metadata is the ‘bonding agent’
- Data drives the interactions between applications, not vice versa
- Application functionality is dynamic and transient
If you’re intrigued by this topic, stay tuned for my next post where I’ll discuss how to begin the voyage from an application-centric to a data-centric IT solar system.
In addition, Liaison has a webinar coming up on this topic that I invite you to attend: