DataOps 101: What is it and why is it so hot in 2021?

Written on April 14, 2021 by Jonathon Webley

Data is the backbone of any successful business these days. It is critical, therefore, to ensure that not only is it accurate but also collected in a timely manner so that you can make well-informed decisions.

Having a solid understanding of your business data assets can be a challenging task in these times when data environments are not only complex but constantly changing also. The tasks associated with being a data-driven organisation, such as analysing data dependencies, keeping documentation up to date, and tracking the origin of your data, can be resource-intensive but are critical to success.

This is where DataOps comes in. Having a high-performing DataOps team in place can help your business to accelerate your data lifecycle – ensuring you not only develop data-centric applications but also deliver accurate business-critical data to your customers and other end users.

What is DataOps?

DataOps is the name given to the collaborative practices that aim to improve the integration, reliability and delivery of data across a business. In a similar way to DevOps, DataOps helps to promote communication between a variety of different business functions, such as business analytics, data science and IT operations. It not only builds on the strong foundation of good DevOps practices but also focuses on automating the data pipeline throughout the data lifecycle by:

  • Data integration – simplifying the way different data sources are connected
  • Data validation – testing the gathered data to ensure accurate information is being fed into the business
  • Metadata management – helping to maintain a clear understanding of the features of the data and its origins and dependencies, and how this might change over time
  • Observability – helping DataOps teams to better understand system behaviour and performance by capturing granular insights

DataOps basically enhances the data lifecycle, ensuring a reliable data pipeline that will deliver information that people can trust, at the same time as shortening development and delivery cycles.

What is the data lifecycle?

Data integration processes and techniques have been developing and changing over the last few decades. Data professionals have worked hard to derive the most value they can from the data available so that they can then relay it to business owners in the most meaningful way.

Data can be sourced from many different places in a business, such as:

  • Document data stores
  • Internet of Things (IoT) telemetry
  • Log and audit data sources
  • Relational databases such as MySQL and SQL Server
  • Restful APIs bringing in data from Saas platforms

There may also be legacy data sources (such as flat files or mainframes) in use at some companies, and many companies will also have data from unstructured sources such as email, websites and other various documents.

When it comes to data integration, which is a core DataOps concept, we are usually concerned with things such as data warehouse batch jobs, ETL processes, and multidimensional model processing.

What benefits does DataOps bring to businesses?

  • Once DataOps is embedded in your business, it will mean that any changes will not only require fewer human resources and take less time, but there will also be a lower risk of errors. Testing procedures will be more easily adaptable as well, reducing the time it takes to move from the development to the production stage.
  • Both DevOps and DataOps practices are based on agile project management principles, meaning data teams that already work this way will find it easier to define and implement their DataOps practices.
  • There are lots of buzz words associated with collaboration at the moment, such as alignment, interlocking, and synergy, but what it all means is that getting collaboration right within your business is essential as it not only means that everyone is working together to make things happen, but that it will happen the same way, every time.
  • In a similar way to the benefit of collaboration, automating analytics and data operations with DataOps removes the risks relating to human unpredictability.

So, now you know a little more about DataOps and what benefits it can bring to your business, get in touch with the recruitment team at Agile Recruit to find out more about the data talent we have available to fill the gaps in your team.