With the latest evolution of IoT and digital twin technology, data sharing platforms have gone a long way from what they used to offer even just a few years back. Many businesses already acknowledge the benefits of traditional analytical data platforms – with Snowflake being one of the better-known solutions. And while they can be of great support to businesses, it’s the rise of operational data sharing platforms that is the real game changer.
The demand for operations data sharing platforms is a natural consequence of digital transformation. Particularly, as digital processes exceed the context of a single organization and require real-time cooperation of partners based on data from their domain systems.
In this piece, we’re going to focus exclusively on the key considerations for operational data storage and management. By the end of this article, you’ll know what to focus on when choosing the right solution for your business.
Data governance as key to operational data storage and sharing
Arguably, data can be considered the most valuable asset that businesses have, making the concept of data governance very important. Its role is to ensure that data is available, consistent, usable, accessible, and protected. Data governance can be approached differently depending on the data type that a given company handles. When it comes to analytical data, it’s done on the data set level. While in the case of operational data, data governance focuses on single objects (and in case of shared objects even on the sub-object level).
Data governance done right allows for better data analytics and process execution, which in turn positively impacts decision-making and efficiency of daily operations.
Let’s now take a look at the key characteristics that each operational data sharing platform should have to support data governance.
What to look for when choosing an operational data sharing platform
When you’re on the lookout for the best platform for your operational data sharing, consider your goals. Ask yourself:
- Why do you want to share the data with other ‘actors’/partners?
- How much data are you planning to handle?
These questions will help you get set on your priorities as you search for the best fitting solution.
Once again, we’d like to underline that the recommendations below relate to shared processes, based on real-time, operational data. Hence, the features and criteria you’ll find here do not relate to solutions like the above-mentioned Snowflake, where the end goal is to analyze and optimize, and not to actually run shared processes.
With that in mind, the best operational data sharing platform should guarantee:
Simply put, it is crucial anytime, anywhere. Security is the single most important feature of any platform. Especially those where you’re sharing a database, transferring data to the cloud, and need to consider the data’s value and the risk of it being taken over by unauthorized persons (e.g. competition).
Without security in the foreground, any data sharing is out of the question. Even if the data itself is not sensitive (e.g. Highly Sensitive Data (HSD)), if it is manipulated or acquired by competitors, it can be fatal to your business.
Trusted Twin guarantees an ISO27001, SOC-2 certified infrastructure, so by using our platform, you’ll be able to rest assured that your data is secure.
Real-time collaboration capabilities
This is probably one of the most important aspects when it comes to operational data sharing solutions. You should ensure that the technology you choose will allow you to co-create objects and share them with other partners in real-time. For example, if you run a wind farm company, you would want all maintenance companies to have access to comprehensive information on each turbine. This also means that they should be able to contribute their own, private data.
That being said, it’s equally important that each partner retains and can prove ownership of their data (despite, or particularly, as they’re part of a shared process). We discuss this next.
Access management & data ownership
A good platform should provide excellent, continuous access control capabilities, in an easy and transparent manner, so that it is always known who exactly has access to the data.
Access control means that you know at any time who has access to what data and to be able to manage their level of ‘clearance’ accordingly.
The right data sharing app and/or operational data sharing platform must also provide flexibility in data access management. This relates equally to data governed internally, within a single organization, as well as that which reaches beyond it. By having the capability to enable/control access as needed, you’re able to tailor the platform to your exact business case.
Scalability and availability
When it comes to selecting the right operational data sharing platform, it’s vital to consider its scalability and availability capabilities. Scalability revolves around the system’s ability to process an ever-increasing amount of data, quickly. Scalability refers both to short term data bursts and to long term increases. This initially might sound like an issue you don’t have to be concerned about if you only deal with small data sets. However, what you have to realize is that a small data set can turn into a large one rather fast. And if access to real-time data gets blocked as your system is unable to handle it, it can seriously disturb your business operations.
The best data sharing apps are able to grow with customers’ needs, without decreasing their data processing capabilities resulting from increasing operational data storage. On top of scalability, the system should also be available 24/7 with no interruptions. TrustedTwin offers global coverage and guarantees high scalability with consistent response time and availability at 99.999% yearly. We know how to optimize the platform to ensure fast and continuous data access, satisfying even the most demanding users.
It’s also necessary to account for real-time data propagation, which is a crucial component for shared processes built on top of real-time operational data. Any delays in data propagation might have a negative impact on business operations.
Verifiability of the data
As operational data plays a key role in processes managed by many unassociated partners, it’s important to verify the data origin, and prevent any manipulation while sharing a database or shared objects. Decisions that are based on data that lack credibility will have serious consequences as they fail to remove the guesswork and the risk factor in ongoing business operations.
This is particularly important in ecosystems where multiple partners with limited trust work with each other. Whenever there is a lack of trust, it’s vital to use the right tools that will enable all parties to verify data origin, authenticity, and integrity. And this is exactly what TrustedTwin offers. We provide blockchain-based services enabling event notarization that allows for further verification of data authenticity, origin, and integrity. You know exactly where the data came from and have a guarantee that it is irrefutable and unique to the exact item. We also offer full control over data access and visibility. Wherever shared objects which are built and maintained by multiple collaborating partners are involved, each partner has full control over their data and its visibility even if that data is part of a single shared object.
Easiness of integration
In shared processes, integration with other systems and databases has to be simple and not dependent on the other’s choices. Otherwise, collaborating partners will waste time strapping up systems instead of running the processes.
For example, if you’re a home appliance maintenance company, you may want to integrate data from manufacturers, IoT devices, and any third-party partners (like collaborating maintenance services).
Trusted Twin is an API-first solution with a clear endpoint structure and legible documentation. It offers various integration technologies (REST, ODBC/JDBC, MQTT) and ready-to-use libraries (PYTHON, JS, C#). Thanks to that, integration is seamless and easy, even for less experienced software developers.
Operational data sharing platform – tips to pick the best one
When facing the choice of the best operation data sharing platform for your shared processes, there are a number of considerations you should take into account. First comes security, the most universal factor of all. This is a critical requirement for any process that entails data sharing and governance.
Some of the characteristics that relate particularly to operational data sharing platforms include:
- Flexible access management
- Extensive data verifiability capabilities
- Wide collaboration capabilities
- Data scalability and availability.
Trusted Twin ticks all of these boxes – be sure to see how we can help you in your data sharing objectives!