Considerations and Approaches for Scaling DataOps

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To fully harness data at the level that modern competitiveness requires, a business needs to become a cognitive enterprise that builds data-driven insight into all its operations. That transformation requires scalable, repeatable processes for managing data pipelines and their output, with quality controls built in. Put another way, organizations need a formal DataOps program instead of taking an ad hoc approach to running data management, analytics, big data and other BI programs. Unlike departmental initiatives or one-off data projects, DataOps requires changes that reach further across organizational culture and information architecture. Such changes are hard to make; 92 percent of companies say culture is their leading impediment to becoming a data-driven organization.

DataOps is becoming increasingly important to enterprise competitiveness, but it is hard to start and even harder to scale. There is a tendency to model DataOps efforts after DevOps, which most organizations now have some experience with. This approach is problematic, and the most serious problems tend to surface when organizations try to scale their DataOps efforts. And programs will need to scale – data and the demand for data-driven insights are both growing quickly. The average company was managing 5,000 datasets in 2020, up from 4,300 in 2018, a 16 percent increase

This thought paper will highlight the unique DataOps characteristics, explain the most important differences between DevOps and DataOps, identify the relevant DataOps challenges, and provide enterprise guidance for establishing and scaling DataOps programs.

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About the authors

Shriram Natarajan

Shriram Natarajan leads ISG’s Digital Solutions and Services in the Americas with a focus on data capabilities and maturities. He offers clients his 20+ years of experience in Technology Consulting and Adoption. His experience spans from leading core software product development to delivering IT services for application portfolios both onsite as well as offshore – which he combines this with digital trends to bring thought leadership to his engagements.

John Burnell

John has been an ISG contributor since 2008. He is an author and editor for content at ISG Research and is heavily involved in IT market research. He applies the skills and lessons learned to support the next wave of disruptive technologies and processes, working in outsourcing, mobile & wireless computing, analytics, cloud computing, telehealth and other healthcare transformation, XaaS, data center automation, virtualization, automated data collection and more. Prior to joining ISG John was an award-winning journalist in the technology industry.

Aparna Gajanan

Aparna has 13 years of experience researching and writing on the impact of digital transformation across industries. Her work has involved conducting in-depth research and analysis focused on identifying future trends and developing differentiated frameworks for clients. Prior to joining ISG, Aparna developed a robust research practice for digital and strategic insights at Accenture.
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