Data Fabric versus Data Mesh.

Are there data quilts too?

When I asked a number of people what they thought a data fabric or data mesh was, the answer was silence.

If data is not your thing, the emerging trends can be confusing and well, meaningless to you.

We know a comprehensive and modern data strategy can deliver a multitude of business benefits.

It can also mean the difference between your business being competitive or being left in the dust. So, here is a quick reference guide:

Data Mesh

Think organisation and people. It's about data being viewed as a product or a first-class citizen.

There might need to be a shift in mindset surrounding data, but fundamentally it is a way to deliver a di-centralised model designed to provide a self-service experience.

Data Fabric

The focus here is around architecture and technology - less about people and the organisation, and more about applying a single management layer that sits over various data sources, and enables consumers to access and use the data but not manage it!

A combined data fabric and data mesh approach will finally unlock the true potential of data within an organisation to generate valuable business insight and drive the decision-making process.

What you need to consider when building a data strategy and practice

You're now convinced your business needs a comprehensive, modern data strategy. Before you start, ask yourself:


Do I need to change the mindset of my organisation around data? Does my business think of data as an essential service?

This is often referred to as a 'paradigm shift', but really it's about tackling and removing historic preconceptions about data.


Do we have the right people, skills, and capabilities to move towards a more di-centralised data model?

This can be used to gauge at a very high level the feasibility of your preferred option, but should not scare you into inaction.


What data solutions do we have today, where are the gaps, and is our data trusted?

It's a great way of assessing your data maturing and helping to shape your plan.

Finally, if nothing else, remember data is a first-class citizen and deserves the same attention your people do. It's that important!

So, to Data Fabric or not to Data Fabric?

It is still incredible to me that:

15% increase in data visibility could result in $65m additional income (Source: Forrester)

Sounds simple, improve your data visibility and drive growth, right?

Ah, not so fast...

We all know the benefits of data, but how do you deal with the complexities of providing the right data to the right people at the right time?

This is where a data management strategy can help.

Viewing your data strategy as more than a technical exercise is important.

Your data strategy has to address more than data; it is a roadmap that defines people, processes, and technology.

There is no 'one size fits all,' but with a considered approach and the right support, you can realise a modern and comprehensive data management strategy and deliver the benefits.

When it comes to digital transformation, investing in the right data strategy should be one of a company's top priorities.

Seb Hills, Alumni Services' Managing Director:

"A good data strategy can help companies make better decisions, predict the future, scale faster, solve problems pre-emptively, and build customer and employee relationships on a more personal level."

About the author

Kathryn Clarke

Principal Consultant

Kathryn is a driven and passionate business leader and master of change with over 20 years experience delivering within the Insurance, Outsourcing, Retail and Tech sectors, amongst others. She has led large scale business transformations and supported start up businesses in scaling. She is equally comfortable designing business strategies as she is “rolling up her sleeves” to get the job done