With modern technologies, business processes become faster, smarter and more efficient. Learn about data modernization, one of the fundamental pillars of the digital enterprise.

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Data is a valuable commodity for companies because of its potential to help make better decisions. However, data management tools and processes must be equipped to handle the volume, velocity and variety of data that companies face today. The explosive volume of data and the many new applications that generate and consume it have created an urgent need for data management programs to help organizations stay on top of their data.

SEE: Data Governance Checklist for Your Organization (TechRepublic Premium)

Data governance initiatives, including data integration and analytics, help organizations optimize the use of data as a strategic asset. Data modernization is a critical component of these initiatives. It addresses the challenges of legacy data management systems by moving away from rigid siled systems and increasing the value of your data.

In this data modernization guide, learn how it works and some of the best strategies for modernizing your own organizational data.

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Definition of data modernization

Data modernization is the process of converting an organization’s data assets into more usable formats for the modern workplace. One way to do this is to move data from legacy systems to a new system that runs on a cloud-based platform.

Data modernization can also involve extracting data from legacy applications or databases, cleaning the data, and importing it into a modern system. Once data is modernized and moved to a newer platform, users can explore it with features like interactive visualization tools, advanced analytics, machine learning capabilities, and mobile access.

Strategies for data modernization

There are many data modernization strategies to choose from, including open data management or data governance. Your choice of strategy will depend on the needs of your company or organization. In most cases, however, you’ll want to take these steps to optimize your data modernization efforts.

Consolidate data from multiple sources into a single database

Data is often scattered across multiple systems and applications in a business. A consolidated database is a good solution to make sure data is easier to find, accessible and up-to-date. Creating a consolidated database that accesses different data sources can lead to new insights, allowing companies to analyze all the different types of data sets they’ve collected over time.

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Map your data assets

Knowing what data assets are available in your company is an important step in any data modernization effort. A clear understanding of the types of data that are stored by different departments, where the data resides on the network, and the age and format of the data will help you identify the best course of action to modernize that data.

Invest in machine learning and artificial intelligence

Machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies offer many advantages for data modernization. Some of the most important features of AI/ML for data include automated unstructured data mining, predictive analytics, and workflow automation.

Protect your data

Modernizing data often involves moving it and exposing it to new applications and users. To protect your data, you should use encrypted connections when transmitting it over open networks such as WiFi and cellular networks. Encryption encodes the contents of a message or file, making it difficult to read data without permission and keeping unauthorized parties away from sensitive company information.

Test for sensitive information

Sensitive information is anything that may violate regulations governing privacy, intellectual property rights, or business ethics. Examples of sensitive information include personally identifiable information (PII), health records, financial records, and intellectual property. Identifying and testing sensitive information will ensure compliance with industry standards and regulatory requirements like HIPAA and GDPR, regardless of how you modernize and move your data.

Create a management plan

In the data modernization process, it’s easy to overlook regulatory requirements while focusing on other data tasks. That’s why it’s important to have a management plan in place. The governance plan sets out who owns, maintains and has access to the data and also includes detailed policies on how the data should be used. With a strong governance plan and the right people and processes to implement it, your data is more likely to remain secure and compliant while you focus on modernizing and transforming it.

Clear your data

One of the strategies for modernizing data is cleaning it. This includes removing redundant, invalid, wrong, or inaccurate values ​​from existing fields so that only accurate, relevant information remains. Going through the data cleansing process is also an important step to take before migrating big data.

Archive data

Data archives provide long-term storage of digital information and often retain older versions of files. Once the backup is created, copies of the data can be distributed to other locations for backup purposes. The modernization process can result in data loss for companies that aren’t careful, so it’s important to have data backups and backup solutions in place.

Benefits of data modernization

Data modernization makes it faster, easier and cheaper for organizations to access their data in an understandable and actionable format. It specifically makes data more useful by finding and replacing legacy terminology, identifying duplicate records, standardizing inconsistent formats, adding metadata such as tags and attributes to each piece of information, and eliminating outdated information.

Data Modernization Services

Data modernization is an effective and quantifiable way to improve business operations. Several companies offer data modernization services, including Infosys, Alation, Cognizant, Suneratech and Cloud4C.

These companies specialize in extracting data from various sources, such as local databases or cloud storage systems, and moving that data into a centralized database. They also make it possible to generate analytical reports to support decision-making, providing a unified view of your company’s data. This is an essential service for businesses looking to improve the customer experience.

Make data modernization work for your business

With the right data modernization services and strategies, as well as a strong data governance plan, businesses can focus on what matters most to their customers, rather than wasting time and resources searching for relevant information in disparate data warehouses. The result is increased customer satisfaction and retention rates, along with significant savings in time, resources and money spent across the enterprise.

Read next: Top Data Management Tools (TechRepublic)

What is data modernization?