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The business world is often filled with constant change, so it is important to be prepared for what the future may hold. The answer to creating a strategy to ensure your business is ready for what lies ahead is by utilizing automation.

As anyone in business knows, the one great constant is change. Changing market conditions. Changing customer needs. Changing competitive threats. And the challenge of managing these types of change, however they manifest themselves, is greatly compounded by the speed of modern IT innovation. Why? Because the by-product of the types of innovations that have led to proliferating and diverging data ecosystems – hybrid on- and off- premises systems, multi-cloud environments, virtualized systems and more – is complexity. And here’s the rub; complexity can act as a brake to a business’ ability to swiftly respond to change. The business’ progress becomes limited by IT rather than driven by it.

So how do you ensure that IT’s management of and approach to your organization’s data is in a position to propel your organization forward? Complexity is now a fact of life. To overcome it, organizations must adopt a core strategy to managing data that tackles its complexity head on.

The answer lies in adopting an “automation-first” mindset and approach in developing, managing and evolving your data infrastructure. Automation can make it easier for data warehousing teams to pull in new data flows from new types of data sources, simplifying the complexity for individuals new to these tasks. Automation can also do much of the heavy lifting associated with migration to new data platforms, eliminating redundant, hand-coding and serving as a translator of sorts between new platform capabilities and current data infrastructure in place.

Additionally, we can all appreciate that the IT strategy and corresponding decisions we make today, may need to be altered, course-corrected or even reversed in the future, dependent on changing commercial pressures and unforeseen opportunities. So, future proofing your ability to maximize the ROI on any IT decision, becomes key.

Automation can act as a safeguard to the choices you may make – particularly when it comes to avoiding some of the risk of adopting new data platforms or systems. A chief concern when adopting new technology is the fear that while a product may work well initially, it may lose its ability to meet organizational needs in the long-term. If so, will the business be handcuffed to the technology they choose and unable to migrate if a new and better solution comes along. This can lead to decision paralysis whereby IT professionals are unable to make a badly needed move forward given the risk of an unknown future state ahead.

Metadata-based automation offers a powerful tool to overcome this decision inertia. By pairing metadata with automation when developing data infrastructure, no matter the data platform used, the automation layer effectively future-proofs an infrastructure investment.

Metadata-based automation enables organizations to easily move the data in or out of the existing data infrastructure if things should change – whether that’s to a newer solution from the same vendor, or to a new platform and provider entirely. In short, reducing switching costs and minimizing risk through automation builds in future-proofing as a matter of course into the overall IT strategy.

Data itself is also becoming increasingly voluminous, as companies look to leverage not only their own internal systems records and documents, but also data from third-parties. Data is no longer simply limited to a static asset. It can now also be a stream of data to be ingested, managed and analyzed at speed real-time. Trying to manage this era of data requires increasing levels of expertise in new systems and data types – a list that is ever-changing and ever-growing.

Hiring for these elevated skills and expertise can be not only costly, but potentially impossible given the emerging skills gap and the shortage of available data professionals. Again, this is where automation can pay high dividends by masking the complexity for developers new to these tasks. Similarly, automation can also serve as a translator of sorts between new platform capabilities and current data infrastructure in place for teams tackling migration projects and data platforms in which they have limited experience.

In summary, as we know, there is nothing more constant than change. However, data infrastructure automation offers a way to future-proof your organization’s IT strategy and its underlying supporting decisions. With it, you can ensure your business will be well placed to weather even the greatest storm of change and opportunity ahead in the industry.