Use Cases for Operational Synchronization
In my last post, I introduced the need for operational synchronization, focusing on the characteristics necessary for a reasonable methodology for implementation. In this post, it is worth examining some example use cases that demonstrate the utility of operational synchronization in a more concrete way.
- Creating a holistic/complete view: Operational aspects of an organization’s business are supported by a number of different applications like CRM, ERP and sales force automation, implemented across various processes and work flows, both on-premise and in the cloud. While each of these processes touches a subset of the attributes associated with common business entities such as customer, product, or supplier, there is value in enabling the materialization of a holistic, unified view of those business entities composed through the synchronization of information channeled from multiple sources of data collection spanning the business process life cycle. This use of operational synchronization supports the management enterprise data assets such as master data repositories.
- Real time data synchronization: In this use case, applications use operational synchronization for delivering current and consistent data in real-time to support time-sensitive business processes. The methods can be tuned to address a variety of real-time windows, ranging from maintaining currency and consistency in conjunction with continuous data feeds to meeting a need for synchronizing data sources across frequent periodic updates.
- High availability: One of the most well known uses of data synchronization is to support fault tolerance and high availability. Yet there is a continuing evolving need for high- or continuous availability among a wider variety of system configurations, including distributed systems, multiple master data systems, transaction system operating in Active/Active configurations. An alternative version of this use case is the use of operational synchronization to help maintain zero-time maintenance and ensure consistency in data migrations when upgrading or migrating from a legacy environment to a new system. In this case, even as new systems are brought online, users can continue to access the old system while retaining synchrony and consistency until the time for cutting over from the old system to the new one.
- Geographic data alignment: Organizations may have multiple data management facilities intended to support the same transaction processing but across different geographic regions. The data in these distributed systems can be made consistent within a defined time frame through operational synchronization. Examples include global businesses that operate around the clock, as well as businesses that use a “franchise” business model, in which many subsidiary organizations supply data to, and then use shared data from a centralized environment, such as banks and retail networks.
As organizations continue to deploy more distributed environments through cloud-based applications and using SaaS tools, there will be a continued need for synchronizing the various data artifacts to enable consistency and holistic data entity visibility.