By Ananth Chakravarthy
Given the recent spate of socio-political disturbances caused by more than one major conflict in the Middle East and European regions, the eyes of the world are turning towards the rise of a new politico-economic power – one that throughout history has almost never imposed itself on its neighbours and whose very motto, Satyameva Jayate, means ‘ Truth alone triumphs.’ I’m referring, of course, to India.
India is also emerging as a champion of rapid digitalization. With growing Internet penetration, low costs of data usage, and government initiatives such as Digital India, Make in India, and Smart Cities, both large enterprises and start-ups in India are leveraging a combination of business accelerators that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Add a young, talented workforce, a democratic culture, technological prowess, and lower costs of business, and it is no wonder the world considers India the next economic powerhouse.
Source: Digitizing India: a force to reckon with, EY India, 7 Feb 2023
For example, India’s national identity system, Aadhaar, provides online biometric-based digital identities to 1.35 billion individuals. This is also the largest biometric system in history.
India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) network includes more than 350 banks with more than 260 million unique users. It is the world’s fifth largest digital payments network.
The government has also digitalized the procurement of goods and services by creating a centrally managed marketplace, Government eMarketplace (GeM), which is one of the largest procurement platforms, with an annual gross merchandise value of $14.2 billion.
And let us not forget that India’s COWIN26, a technology platform created during the pandemic, ran the world’s largest vaccination program.
Digital transformation has become the cornerstone of India’s economic growth story. It has unlocked new avenues for innovation, improved operational efficiency, and opened doors to global markets. As a result, India has emerged as a hub for tech-driven startups, a magnet for foreign investment, and a pioneer in sectors ranging from e-commerce to fintech.
What Powers this Digital Transformation?
At the heart of this transformation lies the strategic management of data. Logical data management, characterized by a systematic, structured approach to handling information, plays a pivotal role in enabling governments and businesses to make informed decisions. It ensures that data is not only accessible but also meaningful, regardless of its source or format. Nationwide initiatives such as Aadhar and COWIN36 would benefit greatly from a logical data management approach. After all, national records and identities are systems that need to extract and unify information from myriad sources, regardless of formats and data types.
What Is Logical Data Management?
Physically containing data in one single repository can be challenging in today’s environment and does not reflect our complex reality. Again, look at Aadhar – no national system serving over a billion individuals would have data residing in just one data warehouse or data lake.
The reality is that we need to frequently connect to data stored in different formats and sizes, both structured and unstructured, while adhering to any privacy restrictions and regulations that may apply. This fits very well with national initiatives and the need to protect private information.
Logical data management provides logical data integration, whereby business users harness the power of data virtualisation to connect to data and unify it at the metadata level, avoiding all of the issues related to physically replicating data for ingestion.
In logical data integration architectures, users do not access data directly, but through shared semantic models. These architectures provide virtualized representations of the data and leave the source data untouched.
For example, the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat), the main producer of official statistics in the service of citizens and public policymakers in Italy, is one organisation that successfully leveraged a logical data management approach. By doing so, Istat increased the quality of statistics produced, such as census data, seamlessly integrating data from addresses, regular grids, microzones, buildings and housing units, administrative zones, statistical and functional zones, and many other sources. This was accomplished without building physical point-to-point connections and replicating data.
This logical approach is important in the business world, as it enables more stakeholders — executives and key decision-makers — to gain self-service access to data, without depending on IT, to draw more accurate macro-understandings of the business. In banking, finance, and related industries, access to accurate, real-time, and centralized data can literally make or break a business.
The JSE, founded in 1887, is the largest stock exchange in Africa and one of the 20 largest stock exchanges in the world by market capitalization. A logical data management approach helped the JSE to integrate over 180 data sources, which needed to feed over 120 different applications for accurate settlement. These included heterogeneous data systems such as relational databases, flat files, and APIs. It also enabled self-service analytics, in which users can log in through an information portal and query the data without tampering with the operations of source systems.
Real-time, self-service data access; data democratization; and access to data in a business-friendly format across a distributed data landscape, regardless of the underlying source or format; are all achieved through logical data management. Logical data management will power India’s digital transformation and strengthen its position as the new politico-economic power, globally.
(The author is Ananth Chakravarthy, RVP Sales, Denodo India, and the views expressed in this article are his own)