Metadata is becoming ubiquitous: Anil Chakravarthy, Informatica

In an exclusive interaction, the CEO of Informatica throws light on what CIOs need to do to drive a data-centric culture in their organizations.

A recent study by IDC reveals that data creation will swell to a staggering 163 zettabytes by 2025, that’s 10x more than what we have today.

At a time when the enterprise is grappling with immense volumes of dark data, the key to finding the right insights lies in tapping into the metadata.

CIOs are now leading the charge to create the data-driven transformations their CEOs identify as being essential for success.

A Vanson Bourne research highlights that 52 percent of a company’s data is classified as dark data, and only 15 percent of the data is considered business-critical.

A tête-à-tête with the man at the helm of Informatica sheds light on what CIOs can do to harness meaningful insights from the enormous amounts of data being churned out.

Chakravarthy is a firm believer of the fact that data today is a strategic asset – a critical ingredient for business innovation, and the currency for digital transformation.

“Data is now increasingly owned by business leaders, partnering with IT to realize the greatest value from their data. Across most enterprises, the CDO acts as the bridge between business and IT.”

When asked about how adept Indian CIOs are in coping with the deluge of data, Anil Chakravarthy, CEO at Informatica says: “The amount of control CIOs have over their data is going down.”

“There is a greater focus on data-centric security, and metadata is what can get you there,” he adds.

Very simply put, metadata is data about data. It’s the metadata that actually makes the data usable to the machine. Good quality metadata ensures that the data can be read by the machine. Without it, it becomes very hard for machines to understand and derive insights.

According to Chakravarthy, metadata describes the structure, attributes, locations, relationships, lineage, profile, and quality of the underlying data. The underlying data can be both on-premise, in traditional data stores or in big data platforms.

“Metadata can be classified into four categories: technical metadata, business metadata, operational metadata, and usage metadata,” says Chakravarthy.

“Every SaaS provider today provides Application Program Interface (APIs). Organizations can use connectors to gather data and draw insights from the metadata,” he says.

He emphasizes on the fact that metadata can help organizations derive actionable insights from unstructured and semi-structured data.

Coming to the best practices organizations can use to manage data, Chakravarthy says: “Organizations need to treat data management as a strategic move. Organizations need to make data platforms to manage their data effectively.”

Chakravarthy says that the second generation of companies witnessed data predominantly being stored on premise. Digital transformation fuelled cloud migration to Azure, AWS and Salesforce. “Customers can now take their on-premise applications and run it on AWS,” he says.

Throwing light on how Informatica helps organizations make sense of the data, he says: “The integration is done through Informatica. We provide a layer of abstraction, and it’s not tied to a specific architecture.” Informatica's data integration infrastructure combines hybrid data integration capabilities and centralized governance for analytics.

What brings the CDO to the spotlight

With data taking the center stage for business strategy and outcomes, the role of the Chief Data Officer has gained significance and is now spreading across all verticals.

A Forrester research reveals that companies that hire a CDO and invest in digital transformation report better decision making, greater customer value, new efficiencies, a growing market footprint, and, most importantly, better results.

“Data is now increasingly owned by business leaders, partnering with IT to realize the greatest value from their data. Across most enterprises, the CDO acts as the bridge between business and IT,” says Chakravarthy.

Chakravarthy, in his blog, lists out five imperatives for CDOs that can help them move away from scattered data silos to a holistic enterprise data environment:

  1. Align the business and technology teams on a common data vision and strategy
  2. Identify compelling business drivers that are enabled by the data strategy
  3. Define a change management approach that builds a data-driven culture
  4. Develop a holistic roadmap and program that delivers incremental business value, and
  5. Leverage data governance to manage your data assets and establish shared accountability