Connecting Business and IT to Build a Data Marketplace

Connecting Business and IT to Build a Data Marketplace 

HOST: Adelina Kainer 

GUESTS: David Majkowski, Technical Manager; TJ Lagrimas, Technical Lead  

SUMMARY: David and TJ talk about the importance of communicating the business needs to IT when building out your data marketplace. 

Connecting Business and IT to Build a Data Marketplace 

 

HOST: Adelina Kainer 

 

GUESTS: David Majkowski, Technical Manager; TJ Lagrimas, Technical Lead  

 

SUMMARY: David and TJ talk about the importance of communicating the business needs to IT when building out your data marketplace. 

 

 

Adelina Kainer  00:00 

Welcome to Digital Reimagined, a podcast packed with insights from Apex Systems, a world class technology services leader working to reimagine value for our clients. 

 

David Broussard  00:11 

We'll bring you the voices of industry experts to showcase our proven solutions that span across digital innovation, modern enterprise, and workforce mobilization. 

 

Adelina Kainer  00:21 

Thank you to our Digital Reimagined listeners for joining us today in our conversation with two thought leaders within our data and analytics team at Apex Systems. Today, we will be learning about the importance of both the business and IT needs when building out a data marketplace. And to discuss the strategies of establishing your data marketplace, we have David Majkowski, and TJ Lagrimas, a Tech Manager and Tech Lead here to guide and lead us in conversation today. Thank you gentlemen for your time!  

 

David Majkowski  00:47 

Nice to be here. 

 

TJ Lagrimas  00:48 

Thanks for having us.  

 

Adelina Kainer  00:49 

Awesome, well good. Well, let's jump right in. So David, can you share with us how the evolution of the data warehouse has evolved into the data marketplace that we see today?  

 

David Majkowski  00:58 

Sure. The idea was to accumulate a whole bunch of business data to enable and facilitate business self service. So people could get at the information that they need more easily. But there were some limitations. They tended to be IT-centric projects, where everybody wanted everything and there was problems managing the data. And it also excluded for the most part, external data. So now there are a lot more sources of data to get at, it's not all just generated internally from internal systems. There's a lot of external data. And the speed at which the data comes in, especially in these new sources, is much faster than it used to be. So what we've gotten is to a place where we have more of a data marketplace. Well, I also like to draw parallels with the real world. If you think of a marketplace, you might think of something ancient, like the marketplace in Istanbul, or you might think of a more modern marketplace like Amazon. Those are very user-focused. It's easy for people to go there, find what they need, get it, and leave. There's no middleman in there. So this is more what a data marketplace has evolved into from the data warehouse. 

 

Adelina Kainer  02:06 

Great, thank you so much. Now talk to us about the importance of the communication lines between the business and IT within a corporate function. 

 

David Majkowski  02:16 

Yeah, that's a big point with me, especially because IT tends to get excited about new technologies. And they come up with these new terms. So data marketplace, everybody's all excited because we have streaming data, we have real time data. And they tend to forget that this data is being accumulated for a purpose. The purpose is to help the business run better, to help people in the business do their jobs better. And they tend to forget to ask the business, "What sort of information do you need to do your job more effectively, and to do it more efficiently?" So I think the beginning of any project should start with a conversation between the IT leaders and the business leaders. And possibly have, like a surrogate in between, someone like a product owner who can sort of mediate between the two sides. Because IT is going to get all excited about the technologies, the new technologies that they're going to use to implement and create this data marketplace. And the business might get frustrated because it might not deliver the information that they need. So these conversations have to happen early. And if you're a business that already has something like a data warehouse, and the warehouse is going to be an integral part of your marketplace, then you should at least go to the business and say, "What parts of the warehouse do you find deficient? What is missing? What do you use every day? What kind of new information do you need to help do your job better?" And then you have a good launching point for smaller pieces of the data marketplace project to implement. 

 

Adelina Kainer  03:42 

That makes great sense. So really ensuring that both the business and IT are communicating, and to ensure that IT is going to roll out what the business really needs within their data piece. 

 

David Majkowski  03:51 

Exactly. And there's two pieces to that. There's one piece is "What data do you need?" And the other piece is "At what velocity does it have to come?" 

 

Adelina Kainer  04:00 

So let's expand on that. So TJ, talk to us about the different examples of data velocity, and why a business user would want to focus on the two different types. 

 

TJ Lagrimas  04:09 

Okay, so starting with data velocity, what is data velocity? It's really, it's the rate at which data is generated from a source, ingested into a centralized system for organization and cleaning, like a data marketplace, and collected by a certain party at that marketplace. Velocity, it comes down to two categories. There's real time and the batch. Real time data, that's your higher velocity data. For example, you have radar systems, traffic data. Or there's your batch data- so historic, your archive data. And this is just your lower velocity data. So it could be your advertising data, other data for weekly payments... So the velocity requirement for a data marketplace customer or user, it'll depend on the purpose. So how do you determine what velocity suits you the best? It comes down to what is the business requirement, like David mentioned. Are we creating a mapping application to create the best navigation system, or is the business tracking quarterly revenue? These are just some of the questions that might help you determine what velocity is best for you. 

 

Adelina Kainer  05:20 

Thank you. There's so many different types of data and so many different ways to look at it. And I guess it goes back to y'all's points around the importance of the why on the business side and what they're trying to accomplish within that data. So thanks for expanding on that. Are there any examples of how Apex is supporting our customers in their journey of creating a data marketplace that you guys can share with us today? 

 

David Majkowski  05:43 

As a matter of fact, yes. TJ and I have been working for a large media company for the past several years, on their data marketplace. Now our role is more as a data broker. We acquire the data from the vendors, we put it into the database, and then there's a front end portal where the users can go and request the data, and it goes to an approver to make sure that they're actually authorized to view this data based on parameters that they enter through the portal. And then the data is delivered to them automatically as soon as their particular data set is updated. But that's just one specific example. Even though they may have some general features that are similar, the application for a data marketplace and the build out of the data marketplace is really specific to the company. You might find some more commonalities within an industry, but across industries, you could look at ten different data marketplaces and find ten totally different looking things. 

 

Adelina Kainer  06:43 

And you guys both mentioned the who is collecting this information from the business, what roles it would be. You mentioned product owner earlier. So when someone is collecting this data information and understanding what the business is trying to solve, what are some different questions, different areas of thought that these product owners, PMs, whoever it should be from the technology teams going to the business, what are some of the questions they should be asking?  

 

David Majkowski  07:09 

Well, I think typically, business people are already getting data from IT. And they also have their own little silos. I think the focus of the questions by this product owner or program manager should be, "Where are your data needs being satisfied? Where are your data needs lacking? What kind of data do you think would help you do your job, even if you don't think we can get it." You know, challenge us. Challenge the IT department to get this data. So basically, to identify where the gaps are. And then another tactic might be, "Okay, well, of the things that are lacking, what are the easiest ones to get? What would be really hard to get?" Well, let's start at the ones that are easy. And of course, Apex has a broad series of services, like Agile coaching and Agile development and project management so that they can write up the stories and parse this huge project into digestible parts. And they can order them by whichever is going to be the easiest and the fastest, so that your users can see some progress. And they can see some real results of things that they need and that they're looking for. 

 

TJ Lagrimas  08:17 

I was just going to add that it's best to start with the lowest hanging fruit, because we can get our quickest return on the initial investment. And we would even have more to invest in the future for more production or development.  

 

Adelina Kainer  08:29 

Great, thank you. Well, we always like to leave our podcast listeners with a significant takeaway as we wrap up. All right, David, do you mind sharing any piece of what an important theme is for our customers to think about when they're building out their data marketplace? 

 

David Majkowski  08:44 

I actually have a message for the business people. And that is be selective when you're talking to the product owner about what you want in this data marketplace. Don't just say, "We need everything, we need as much data as possible." Then you're going to get it, right? And then you're not going to get a marketplace, you're going to get a data dump. And you're not going to know what's in there and where to find it. It's going to be a big mess. So really put some thought into what kind of data you need to do your job well, and to do it effectively and work with it. And we'll get it. 

 

Adelina Kainer  09:12 

TJ, can you please share with us one final thought before we wrap up? 

 

TJ Lagrimas  09:16 

I think it just comes down to what your business need is. So we can talk about types of data, we can talk about velocity, we can talk about everything that's shiny. But what does the business really need? I think that's something to focus on. 

 

Adelina Kainer  09:31 

Good. Well, it was a pleasure speaking with you both today. Thanks for joining us in our virtual studio to discuss the different trends within technology and specifically around the data piece. 

 

TJ Lagrimas  09:40 

Thank you.  

 

David Majkowski  09:40 

It's been a pleasure.  

 

David Broussard  09:45 

Please be sure to subscribe to Digital Reimagined, wherever you listen to podcasts. 

 

Adelina Kainer  09:50 

To learn more about Apex Systems' offerings, visit us at apexsystems.com/insights. You'll find our podcasts here along with success stories, articles, news and trends, 

 

David Broussard  10:04 

The music you heard was Do Ba Do, by Otis Galloway.