Driving Confident, Controlled Data Cultures through Modernization

The complexity of today’s data environment is an undeniable crossroads that enterprises leveraging legacy systems must face. As data continues to proliferate—both in sheer quantity and source type—legacy systems prove inadequate, especially when it comes to data quality, control, and confidence.

In DBTA’s recent webinar, Tamr + Google: The Secret to Boosting Data Confidence at Novocure, experts from their respective companies highlighted a real case of legacy system insufficiency, where a data product strategy revolutionized an otherwise insecure data infrastructure.

Novocure, a global oncology company pioneering a novel therapy for solid tumors called Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields), found that its legacy system could no longer keep up with the enterprise’s growth ambitions. Fortunately, Tamr and Google helped Novocure implement a data product strategy that ensures it delivers clean, trustworthy data.

Marshall Worster, senior director of enterprise transformation at Novocure, explained that, today, there is a new way to engage with data. In Novocure’s case, examining where the company was at the time of their data inefficiency—optimizing pre-existing tools, refraining from investment in new tech, and hiring specific talent to augment IT—enabled them to highlight where they wanted to go.

This destination was entirely concerned with elevating the potential of the cloud, BI and analytics, self-service, and AI/machine learning (ML).

To accomplish this, Worster explained that it’s not all technology; ensuring that there is a central vision, from which a collaborative and curious culture emerges, backed by an invested and empowered team, is key in moving toward any organizational goal.

More technically, this evolution took shape as utilizing some existing Novocure systems while upscaling their teams with new technologies—namely, a cloud-native data lake on Google Cloud BigQuery to serve as the enterprise’s data foundation.

With a foundation for analytics and insights established, another aspect of modernization needed to be addressed: data quality.

Worster pointed to Tamr’s HCP and HCO data mastering abilities, which enabled Novocure to organize disparate provider data sources. Both lightweight and efficient, Tamr offered a way to clean and curate data which could then be loaded directly into Novocure’s data lake.

Joan Kallogjeri, customer engineer, data analytics and ML at Google, further delved into why customers are building data lakes on GCP, boiling it down to:

  • Easy data migration
  • Scalable, strongly consistent cloud storage
  • Data processing on-demand
  • Serverless data analytics
  • Innovative AI and ML security and governance at scale

Kallogjeri explained that this is accomplished through several technologies working in tandem to put forward a comprehensive platform. This includes capabilities such as metadata catalog and search; rapid and secure data ingestion; low friction and secure user access and UI; managed services for processing, analysis, and innovation; and more.

Matthew Holzapfel, head of corporate strategy at Tamr, added that when enterprises focus solely on computation and storage as part of modernization, they lose a crucial piece of maximizing the value of their data.

Holzapfel explained that the enterprises who are most successful in modernization are the ones addressing that piece, which consists of enterprises asking, “How is this data going to be consumed?” “What are those different applications that we have of our data?” and “Where do we want to get to in the next 3-5 years?

Within these questions, another one continues to plague the data industry: Why does no one trust the data in their dashboards?

It certainly isn’t for a lack of data management tooling, said Holzapfel. The key toward propelling trusted data lies with adopting data as a product, which focuses on examining data in a much more holistic manner that questions who consumes the data, who manages it, what the desirable outcomes are, etc.

Data products enable new capabilities that follow a dominant-driven, targeted approach, where data products with predefined data workflows align with key business domains. This evokes a culture of data that empowers cleanliness and organization, driven toward a definable purpose.

For an in-depth review of Novocure’s modernization journey with Google and Tamr, you can view an archived version of the webinar here.