Data orchestration is the process of bringing together data from various storage locations, combining it in a coherent form, and then making it available for use by an organization’s data analysis and data management tools.
This process is usually software-driven, connecting multiple storage systems and allowing your data analysis platforms to access one or more of those systems whenever necessary.
To better understand data orchestration, think of the root of the word ‘orchestration’ — orchestra. In a symphonic orchestra, a range of unique instruments come together to create something harmonious. The instruments occupy their unique spaces in the sonic landscape, but the conductor or composer brings them into harmony to create something useful — in the case of music, a symphony. Data orchestration is similar, in that it brings together unique data sources to create a pool of data that’s usable for analysis and other tasks.
But where does orchestration differ from automation, and how is it used in the real world? We’ll explore both of these questions — and share the benefits of data orchestration — in this guide.
Data Orchestration vs. Automation
Data orchestration and automation are closely related, so it’s worth addressing exactly what each means and how they differ.
Automation is the process of identifying a manual task and setting it up to operate with minimal human interaction in order to improve efficiency.
Orchestration, on the other hand, involves the coordinated automation of a series of tasks designed to work together in a streamlined process or workflow. Think of automation as automating one task, and orchestration as automating multiple tasks to work in perfect coordination. Orchestration is essentially a more complex version of automation, yet ‘automation’ is often used to describe orchestration.
Data Orchestration Use Cases
There are many instances in which effective data orchestration can significantly increase an organization’s or team’s efficiency by removing the manual elements of common and repetitive processes.
After all, less time spent completing a tedious task means more time can be dedicated to other more important tasks. Running a business efficiently is all about exerting the majority of time, effort, and creativity where it’s most needed. When simple, repeatable tasks can be automated and combined in streamlined data orchestration, the result is measurable time and cost savings, as well as a more efficient business that’s equipped to go to market faster, maximize resources, and generally do more with less.
Here are some of the specific use cases where data orchestration can really shine.
Management of Multiple Applications & Data Streams
The number of data and applications that organizations must manage has increased exponentially over the last few years, and as they become larger and more complex, those data streams and applications will grow even more complicated and numerous.
Data orchestration provides an automated way to manage those various data sources, a task that would be incredibly time-consuming or unmanageable for an employee or team. The upshot? Your company becomes more equipped to scale up its data input without drowning under the overhead required to manually manage it.
Data analytics is one of the most prominent use cases for orchestration. By combining and organizing data from multiple storage locations, data orchestration helps bypass bottlenecks and put everything in one place for data analytics tools. This allows the tools to pull all relevant data for analysis and helps prevent data silos that could limit or delay data-driven and results.
Faster Product Development
We believe that companies are the most successful when humans can focus on human tasks and computers can focus on computer tasks. What does that mean?
People and computers are equipped to excel in different areas. While computers are built to complete repeatable tasks that involve large amounts of concrete data, human beings are unmatched when it comes to creative problem solving and critical thinking.
When repeatable processes are automated in the product development process, it allows humans to focus on creative problem solving. The result? Faster product development and better end products.
Transitioning a series of tasks from manual input to automated process doesn’t just save time – when humans are removed from the equation, so is the possibility of human error. Think of a developer entering code into a program. While occasional manual inputs won’t be a dramatic drain on that developer’s productivity, each time they open the code to input new code presents the risk for a minor error that could lead to major consequences.
By orchestrating simple code additions, opportunities for input errors are reduced or eliminated, helping eliminate costly mistakes and the expensive time it takes to fix them, rather than working on more creative endeavors for your business.
Data Orchestration Benefits
Besides the central use cases above, implementing data orchestration into any level of your organization has a range of benefits for productivity, capabilities, and employee satisfaction. Here are five of the top benefits that make data orchestration a part of successful organizations’ data management strategies.
Every touchpoint in a process is a potential for error, delay, or disagreement. By automating the processes that don’t require high levels of human input, you can eliminate these friction points and make your entire organization run like a well-oiled machine.
The less time you spend on IT and data management, the less money you spend. Each hour of work or wasteful data management practice results in real, measurable money lost from your company’s bottom line. When you use data orchestration to reduce these costs and make data teams more productive, you can put that money into innovation and growing your business.
Boost Productivity & Effectiveness
When data teams are empowered to spend time on distinctly human tasks, amazing things can happen. Your creative, inspired employees should not have to spend time completing simple, rote tasks that could be completed faster and more easily by automation and orchestration. Let your people be people and your computers be computers, and watch how your organization thrives.
Create Standardized Practices & Workflow
Imagine if each time an important and recurring process was undertaken at your company, you had to be there to oversee it every step of the way. This would, of course, be an incredibly inefficient use of everyone’s time, even if it did ensure that the process was always done correctly.
But what if you could ensure a consistent process and product every single time, while actually saving time? That’s the power of data orchestration. It can be used to standardize processes throughout your company and guarantee that they’re done the same, correct way — every time.
Make Employees Happier
It’s a proven fact — employees who get to spend their work hours being creative and working on open-ended tasks are happier and more satisfied than those who have to devote their time to rote tasks that would be better served by automation. That leads to better retention and productivity across the board.
How to Begin Data Orchestration
If you’re looking to begin the process of data orchestration to make your data management more streamlined, cost-effective, and productive, Immuta can help. We provide universal cloud data access control to ensure that even when your data is available in the cloud, it’s always kept secure and accessible only by those with authorization.
By automating sensitive data discovery and classification, attribute-based access control, and policy enforcement and auditing, Immuta makes otherwise-manual processes more consistent and secure than ever before, accelerating time to data access and reducing data engineering costs by 40%.