Universal Data, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Chaos

Greg McStravick

As famed American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan once said, “I accept chaos. I’m not sure whether it accepts me.”

Businesses today face a fundamentally chaotic reality. We see it in structured and unstructured formats – from our transactional systems, data warehouses, cloud apps, and social media. It is ubiquitous. For those of us who have grown up in the system-of-record world, the transactional system world, these new data sources represent both a risk and a challenge, but also an incredibly valuable untapped asset (if leveraged the right way). And it isn’t just the variety of sources; it is the variety of data types. We are confronted with graph data, streaming data, geospatial data, and telemetry data from sensors.

Chaos represents a set of tremendous challenges for business, but also unprecedented opportunities. What will we find as we go looking for patterns and repetitions within seemingly random data? That question is what’s driving the current passion for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Data has become the new oil – an enormously valuable resource that, with a little refining, we can leverage to do virtually anything we want. And more even than a resource, data has become the new currency for business. At the same time, it is chaos. The onus is on us to rationalize these trends and determine what steps we will take in response to them.

We have heard this time and again from our customers. How should they respond?

We suggest they need a new approach to data.  Using bimodal IT, organizations must find a way to modernize their core and enable innovation at the edge. That may sound like an either-or proposition – either you can work on the core, or work on innovation – but mastering digital chaos requires finding a way to do both simultaneously. Shifting to that mode of operation requires a fundamental realignment where data is concerned.

To support this vision of bimodal operations, businesses need a next-generation, universal data framework that enables unconstrained access to data across the enterprise.

I’d like to describe such a framework here, but the truth is, there are simply too many points to make about it – seven, in fact. In my new white paper, 7 Laws for Universal Data, I introduce the concept of universal data and outline seven laws for its successful deployment.

Please set some time aside to read the white paper and learn how organizations can harness this data for success. I welcome any comments or feedback as well. Leave a note in the comments section, or tweet me at @McStravickGreg.

This article originally appeared in the SAP HANA Blog and is republished by permission.


Greg McStravick

About Greg McStravick

Greg McStravick is the president of Database and Data Management at SAP, leading development and go-to-market teams for SAP’s core digital innovation platform, SAP HANA, and databases (including SAP ASE and SAP IQ), enterprise information management, middleware, and SAP Vora. Formerly, Greg led the go-to-market teams and strategy for some of SAP’s largest and fastest-growing businesses, including the SAP HANA platform, analytics, database, and SAP Cloud Platform. With more than 20 years of progressive experience as a leader in technology solution sales management and strategy, Greg has held senior leadership positions throughout SAP, including president (U.S.), where he was responsible for driving customer success and developing new opportunities for SAP to expand its business across the entire U.S. region.