This blog is about the 'Democratizing Data Integration for Makers' video, presented by Andrej Koelewijn and Jon Scolamiero from Mendix. You can watch the video here.
How can data be made available throughout an organization? The question may sound easy, but it’s harder to execute than you’d think.
Essentially, the problem emerges when it comes to big organizations dispersed around the globe: different teams populate different data and store it in various structures. The challenge lies in managing access to the data or even knowing what kind of data is acquired and stored. To tackle this issue, we need to think not only about storing the data but also democratizing it.
Key concerns can be categorized in three ways:
- How to find and understand data
- How to use and share data
- How to observe and manage data
To understand the scale of the problem, imagine yourself as a developer in a big organization scattered across different time zones. You have a project that needs to process chunks of data from different branches of the organization in various structures. You need to contact people in various locations and ask them about their data, and then you need to address the three concerns about each of the places you need data from.
Mendix’s solution, the Data Hub
The short answer would be to apply principals of low-code to data integration in app development, a solution to address the aforementioned concerns based on the simplicity of deploying with one click, and easy governance of data.
Data Hub consists of two major parts: Catalog and Data. Catalog is basically metadata – data about data. Think of it like a phonebook[VH1] : data catalog is responsible for bookkeeping all the data – what data is available, how you can access the data, who is the owner of the data, what people can see and not see, etc.
Data Catalog lets creators search for data entities, discover data owners, learn data purposes, understand relationships, share data safely, drag & drop developer experience, centralize metadata management, understand data sources and who is using them, and a lot more besides. For more information, read about Data Hub.
Use cases and benefits
The benefits are endless, but the following are worth mentioning:
- Build a landscape of Mendix apps more easily
- Leverage the component-based development approach effortlessly
- Enable business users with curated data
- Get more productivity and value from iPaaS
In addition, teams can benefit a lot: Data Hub increases the productivity of teams as they can simply drag & drop the data they need into their apps with zero effort. The big advantage is that you know which application is impacted when making changes, and which teams you need to coordinate with.
Another significant benefit of Data Hub is business agility. Imagine an organization wants to share data with external entities like government branches or suppliers. This can be simply done with Data Hub: you can share data safely and manage who can see what in no time.
Data Hub is not just another component available in your Mendix development lab. But it is a way forward in democratizing data, helping teams to share and use data effortlessly, and make and execute decisions quickly.