How to Develop Strategic Value From Your Database

In any IT initiative, it’s easy to use what has always worked. And this is a reasonable perspective to take in many ways, but it’s not always the most judicious.

The best talent wants to work at organizations that use flexible, open source technology. And the best organizations want technology that is secure and low-cost. Older solutions, such as relational database management systems (RDMBS), can’t offer all these things. Organizations need to find more modern, effective, attractive and low-cost solutions that can take them into the future.

“It’s not just moving away from RDBMS just to move away. You have to move away thoughtfully with purpose, toward a technology that is going to serve you well for years,” said Brent Leech, Regional Vice President of Public Sector at MongoDB, an enterprise database solutions provider.

Leech shared three best practices agencies can take to thoughtfully approach their data and applications.

1. Don’t Start New Initiatives With Old Technology

Even if they would like to, agencies can’t replatform every legacy application they have. That’s why a strategic way to prioritize development initiatives is to start new efforts with the best technology.

Moving toward a modern infrastructure out of the gate will save time and effort in the long run, Leech said, particularly if it works the way people work today.

For instance, relational databases are traditional storage tools that have been around for 40 to 45 years. People use data differently now, and tools like MongoDB’s document database solution keep that in mind. It functions as an operational layer over huge data repositories to help agencies extract the most applicable data for their mission, and securely through enterprise tooling.

2. Use Flexible Software Methodologies and Tools

Software developers cannot predict the future. They don’t know what data types will be required over time, or how their database schemas will need to look like as applications evolve.

So, organizations need to provide their employees with a database technology that is adaptable – with flexible schema and data types – allowing them the freedom to change things quickly.

“We store our data in ways that developers, data analysts and data scientists think about data,” Leech said. “If you use flexible data technology, your time to mission and reliability will improve, and you can future-proof a lot of what you’re developing.”

3. See Low-Cost Failure as a Tool

If agencies keep in mind that failures are inevitable, they want to be able to pivot and learn from them quickly.

Investing in large, monolithic technologies that are expensive to procure and maintain isn’t the best way to fail fast and fail cheap.

To turn failures into opportunities for growth, agencies need low-cost solutions to keep initiatives light, quick and simple. You don’t want unplanned events to hit your budget or timeline in drastic ways.

With MongoDB, you can save up to 90% over traditional database deployments with zero down time, even during maintenance windows.

“Don’t take your database technology for granted,” Leech said. “Make sure you understand there are alternatives out there.”

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Advancing the Art of Data Analytics.” Download the full guide here.


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