You wouldn’t purchase a laptop that was missing key features. If it couldn’t connect to the internet or had no USB ports, you wouldn’t entertain lifting it off the shelf and taking it home.
Just the same, you’ll make a poor investment if you choose an enterprise data management platform that doesn't have the right features. If you do, you’ll compromise the agility of your data projects and even the security of the data itself.
Let’s take a look at the 13 features you absolutely need to have on your platform.
1. Data management across 100 percent of the lifecycle
When you work with data at scale, and in many locations, it's a challenge to get visibility and control. You can end up seeing what’s happening in glimpses, but you don’t feel confident that you’re on top of everything
This makes it imperative to have a data platform that enables you to see everything all in one central place so you have visibility across 100 percent of the process.
To do this, you’ll need to visualize and monitor data flows from beginning to end. This needs to cover data inspection as it's flowing, as well as monitoring and error alerts.
Also, you'll want the ability to orchestrate systems outside of your data management platform. For example, calling external scripts, connecting with APIs, and messaging queues.
Yes, as you probably know, we’re big fans of automation.
But when it comes to choosing a data management platform, you’ll need to pay close attention to its ability to automate your data needs.
With CloverDX, you can automate your systems both inside and outside of CloverDX. The platform consolidates and automates your processes and disparate systems. This boosts productivity, reduces errors, and makes your business more agile.
Indeed, automation is one of the key CloverDX values, with the goal being to have all your processes running on autopilot. Naturally, this saves you a lot of time and means you get your data to where it needs to be much faster. You'll also boost reliability, data accuracy, and empower your company to grow without adding to the headcount.
3. Process orchestration
Overly complex, unruly data processes can be a nightmare to manage and optimize for.
So why not make it easier with CloverDX? It enables you to visually define job flows and control everything with code, combining data transformations together with other processes, as well as ‘service’ tasks such as moving files around, executing external tasks or scripts, or calling APIs. As a result, you’ll enjoy the benefit of full automation of business processes.
4. Flexible systems that allow you to code
Many products today push the ‘no-code’ approach, which can be helpful for many situations. However, if you need to do anything more complex, what you really need is a platform that empowers you to achieve 100% of the solution in one place. This means a product that lets you do both the easy things with no code and the tricky things with code. After all, at the enterprise level, you’ll need to do complex things (with code) a lot of the time.
Importantly, you get the powerful combination of being able to code and use visual design. The visual element gives you ease of use and it’s faster and easier to understand what you’ve built (so you can share it with less technical staff). However, technical developers will still have the power to work with code to do things that are more complicated.
5. Customizability and extensibility
Inevitably, you’ll want to add things to your data systems.
That makes having a solution that can connect the pieces together crucial. For example, what if you’re missing a connector to a data source? You’ll waste time and money if you need to extract data and do things manually.
The good news is that when you choose a solution like CloverDX, you’ll get the extensibility you need to take on any challenge. If you’re missing functions in CTL, it’s straightforward to go into the extension library and build out what you need. Once it’s in the library, it’s seamless to share it with your teams and across projects – users don’t have to come to you in the future for similar challenges.
It's also crucial to pick a platform that has an open architecture. You don't want proprietary formats and closed parts that you can't dig into. Rather, you'll want a tool when you can pull apart, edit, and redesign for anything you need.
At the same time, you want the peace of mind that your data platform will work with your existing tools and wider infrastructure. No matter whether you're using the cloud, on-prem, containers, Mac, Linux, etc., you want to know that you can install the platform on your current technology.
6. Top-notch security
Did you know that, on average, a business will spend $3.6 million recovering from a data security incident?
Shocking facts like this highlight the importance of choosing an enterprise data management platform that has excellent security and stores your data sparingly or, better still, not at all.
Specifically, this means features that cover:
- User authentication
- Backend database
- External communication
- Temporary files
- Passwords and secrets
CloverDX comes with many elements that help, such as LDAP and SAML. These will enforce your company's security policies and stop user credentials from remaining in your internal database.
7. Data quality management
Murky, low-quality data inevitably leads to inaccurate insights and decision-making.
To turn this around you’ll want to put rules and processes in place to achieve the level of data quality you need. Naturally, you’ll want to validate your data before you start working with it – using a tool such as Validator makes this a cinch.
In addition, you’ll need a platform that automates all your data challenges and brings all the pieces together. After all, manual errors are often the cause of data quality issues.
You'll also want a platform that enables you to build data quality rules into your whole workflow so one error doesn't stop the process. You can then define how to handle errors so you can remove them from the process and keep the rest of the (accurate) data flowing.
8. Map data at scale (using the right people)
Without effective data mapping, it’s easy to get lost with your data projects. Data mapping empowers you to map out the connections of data fields between a source and target data location.
It’s the foundation for many of the other data processes you’ll deploy. For example, data migration and data warehousing. This makes it an essential feature for every organization looking for an enterprise data management platform.
With CloverDX, it's easy for the subject matter expert to map data with templates, and then leave the actual process to the technical IT team.
It’s expensive and ineffective to have to do the same data tasks again and again. Not to mention it's a waste of developers' time. So it's important that your platform enables you to build once and then reuse something repeatedly.
With CloverDX you can wrap complex logic into a neat package that someone else (and someone who isn't technical) can drop in and use.
Sharing components like this helps because it frees up developers' time. They won't waste time redoing mundane tasks over and over and instead can spend time on things that add more value. What's more, you'll improve collaboration because a technical person can build something complex that other less technical people can easily reuse.
It's also desirable to have a data platform that is scalable enough so that you don't grow out of it too soon. This means that you aren't restricted, and can easily scale the numbers of users as well as the variety of use cases you deploy the platform to solve.
Of course, you'll also want the platform to meet the technical side of scaling. So it needs to manage any volume of data, and any volume of data jobs and connections.
Finally, you’ll want the pricing model to be transparent so you can predict what you’ll pay for as you grow your usage.
11. Proper support, resources, and vendor collaboration
Most companies will want support to figure out their trickier data projects and to help them get the most out of their investment.
The bad news is that some platforms will leave you to figure things out alone. You might get told to read a public forum or be shipped off to a remote call center where the person you're talking to doesn't understand your situation.
What's much more preferable is being able to pick up the phone and talk to someone who knows your product inside and out. You want support whenever you need it and the dedicated support of a responsive in-house customer success team who understand what you're trying to achieve.
What's also helpful is having all available resources in a dedicated library that puts all the information you need at your fingertips.
It pays to factor vendor support into your evaluation. Good vendor collaboration can speed up your onboarding, help you solve complex data challenges, and even provide solutions that you may never have thought of.
12. Robust operation
For effective data management, you need a platform that runs reliably and robustly.
You'll want your platform to give you the ability to monitor how it's running and proactively alert you to any problems quickly, so you can identify and fix any problems, whilst at the same time recording and logging everything.
With robust monitoring in place you can have complete confidence that your platform is doing everything you need it to so you can sleep well at night.
13. Commercial terms
Your prospective data platform might have all the bells and whistles you're looking for. But is it the right move commercially?
It's paramount to consider questions such as:
- Can I scale with this or will I hit a limit?
- Is there vendor lock-in that reduces my flexibility?
- Will I be hit by a spending trap that spirals my costs?
Obviously, you're better off with a platform that brings you the scalability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness you need to keep all stakeholders happy.
Now you know what you’re looking for
There’s no need to feel lost in the dark when choosing your data platform. You just need to know the features that move the needle.
We’ve addressed some of the most important. From automated processes to performance and cost scalability, it's wise to make sure your platform ticks these boxes – they'll empower you to reach your data goals faster and securely.
If you’d like to learn more about CloverDX, and if it could be the right platform for your organization, reach out for a chat with one of our team today.