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What is Data Virtualisation and Why Does It Matter to Your Business?

Big Data Analytics and Business Intelligence Systems no longer just answer questions and provide deep insights to business. They are the key component in enabling new business models, achieving competitive advantage, developing new products, predicting market conditions and delighting customers. 

Putting data in the hands of staff is not a luxury, it’s a business imperative.

The traditional tools to do this such as BI software, Big Data Platforms and Data Warehouses have existed for some time. All of these approaches suffer from complexity in actually collating the data that people and business want to analyse.

For organisations that want to analyse multiple disparate data sources at scale, the time, skills, resource and cost of doing so are significant.  Data Virtualisation solves this problem in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

In a world where IT infrastructure has reaped the benefits of virtualisation with virtualised servers and infrastructure, it should not be surprising that a virtualised approach to building a data store for purpose of analytics would also reap advantages.

Data Virtualisation does exactly that. It leaves data in situ whether that data be in a database, Hadoop, an object store or even in external data sources. A Data Virtualisation platform uses an abstract layer and presents all of those isolated data instances as if they were one single pooled data source. Analytics tools can then run queries against all of this data quickly generating insights by finding patterns across all available data.

In the case of TIBCO, their data virtualisation platform includes an Integrated Development Environment which enables analysts and developers to define and implement appropriate views of data based on analytic needs and use cases.

Data Virtualisation is more than just “neat technology” it facilitates the business agility that companies need to survive and thrive in our data driven economy. Other data access and management tools have been around for some time but they can’t meet the agility of data virtualisation and an agile business needs agile analytics.

Businesses need to place data at their core so they can become truly data driven. Data Virtualisation is the enabler that makes this happen. It facilitates data democratisation, quickly accommodates new views of data for an expanding set of IT, Analyst and Line of Business users. Data Virtualisation can also quickly and easily cope with new sources of data as the business takes advantage of device data from IoT, third-party data in the cloud, customer data, partner data or other internal or external sources. 

TIBCO, a leader in the data virtualisation space, believes the technology underpins what they refer to as “Business Decision Agility”. This encapsulates why data virtualisation matters to business. This can be broken down into some key areas that data virtualisation should deliver:

Complete Information – Building a complete picture is critical in decision making. For large enterprises, this is no easy task. They literally have thousands of silod data sources available to them but without data virtualisation have no way to pull them together quickly to paint that complete picture.

Quality Information – Data virtualisation can perform data transformation on the fly. This is important as it rare that data in the source format will exactly match the format required by the applications or people consuming that data. The real-time data transformation ensures delivery of high quality usable data by the consumers of that information.

Actionable Information – Information in a data warehouse is frequently 24 or more hours old at the time it is analysed. Making actionable decision in real time requires access to the absolute most current live production data. Because data virtualisation pools data in situ in production systems, the information it provides is actionable in near real time.

In addition to delivering business agility, data virtualisation delivers significant bottom line savings by eliminating the need for separate data warehouse storage and infrastructure as well as the complex processes to extract and load data into these stores.  

The modern business climate means that business decisions not only need to be made with deep insight, they need to be made at speed with data that is as current as possible. It is Data Virtualisation technology that makes this possible.

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