In this new era of information, new terms are used in organizations working with data: Data Management Platform, Data Quality, Data Lake, Data warehouse… Behind each of these words we find specificities, technical solutions, etc. With Data Mesh, you go further by reconciling technical and functional management. Let’s decipher.
Did you say: “Data Mesh”? Don’t be embarrassed if you’re not familiar with the concept. The term wasn’t used until 2019 as a response to the growing number of data sources and the need for business agility.
The Data Mesh model is based on the principle of a decentralized or distributed architecture exploiting a literal mesh of data.
While a Data Lake can be thought of as a storage space for raw data, and the Data Warehouse is designed as a platform for collecting and analyzing heterogeneous data, Data Mesh responds to a different use case.
On paper, a Data Warehouse and Data Mesh have a lot in common, especially when it comes to their main purposes, which is to provide permanent, real-time access to the most up-to-date information possible. But Data Mesh goes further. The freshness of the information is only one element of the system.
Because it is part of a distributed model, Data Mesh is designed to address each business line in your company with the key information that it concerns.
To meet this challenge, Data Mesh is based on the creation of data domains.
The advantages? Your teams are more autonomous through local data management, a decentralization of your enterprise in order to aggregate more and more data, and finally, more control of the overall organization of your data assets.
Data Mesh: between logic and organization
If a Data Lake is ultimately a single reservoir for all your data, Data Mesh is the opposite. Forget the monolithic dimension of a Data Lake. Data is a living, evolving asset, a tool for understanding your market and your ecosystem and an instrument of knowledge and understanding.
Therefore, in order to appropriate the concept of meshing data, you need to think differently about data. How can we do this? By laying the foundations for a multi-domain organization. Each type of data has its own use, its own target, and its own exploitation. From then on, all the business areas of your company will have to base their actions and decisions on the data that is really useful to them to accomplish their missions. The data used by marketing is not the same as the data used by sales or your production teams.
The implementation of a Data Catalog is therefore the essential prerequisite for the creation of a Data Mesh. Without a clear vision of your data’s governance, it will be difficult to initiate your company’s transformation. Data quality is also a central element. But ultimately, Data Mesh will help you by decentralizing the responsibility for data to the domain level and by delivering high-quality transformed data.
Does adopting Data Mesh seem impossible because the project seems both complex and technical? No cause for panic! Data Mesh, beyond its technicality, its requirements, and the rigor that goes with it, is above all a new paradigm. It must lead all the stakeholders in your organization to think of data as a product addressed to the business.
In other words, by moving towards a Data Mesh model, the technical infrastructure of the data environment is centralized, while the operational management of the data is decentralized and entrusted to the business.
With Data Mesh, you create the conditions for an acculturation to data for all your teams so that each employee can base his or her daily action on data.
The Data Mesh paradox
Data Mesh is meant to put data at the service of the business. This means that your teams must be able to access it easily, at any time, and to manipulate the data to make it the basis of their daily activities.
But in order to preserve the quality of your data, or to guarantee compliance with governance rules, change management is crucial and the definition of each person’s prerogatives is decisive. When deploying Data Mesh, you will have to lay a sound foundation in the organization.
On the one hand, free access to data for each employee (what we call functional governance). On the other hand, management and administration, in other words, technical governance in the hands of the Data teams.
Decompartmentalizing uses by compartmentalizing roles, that’s the paradox of Data Mesh!