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Connected Data Defined

Natalie Gagliordi | Content Strategist | June 13, 2023

“How do I put all this data to good use?”

Across organizations, there’s growing pressure to figure out how to best utilize all that data that’s accumulating from day-to-day operations and business systems. Most often, addressing this data challenge involves finding ways to use that data to drive improvements in the behavior of people, processes, and applications. Operational data—which includes things such as customer, inventory, and purchase data—is ripe for this type of business innovation. But to take advantage of this data, businesses need to have robust data collection, integration, and management systems in place. If companies can connect data from any data source and transform it to facilitate data analysis, then they can use it to achieve efficient and responsive operations. This is a concept known as connected data, and it can help businesses avoid pitfalls such as inefficient operations, incorrect reporting, uninformed buying and pricing decisions, and reduced employee and customer satisfaction.

What Is Connected Data?

Connected data is when data assets are linked together and made easily accessible so that businesses can better utilize their data to improve decision-making and drive outcomes. Connected data involves integrating data assets from multiple sources or systems and highlighting the relationships among the data points so that they can be analyzed and used to provide a comprehensive view of a business or a single business process.

Connected data infographic, description below
Connected data integrates data assets from multiple sources, such as HR, sales, and supply chain, to provide a comprehensive view of a business.

Operational Insight

  • Inventory
  • Sales
  • Human resources
  • Manufacturing
  • Supply chain
  • Customer service

Key Takeaways

  • Connected data provides a way to organize and analyze data in a more meaningful and efficient way.
  • Connected data helps businesses to improve operations, sharpen decision-making, and deliver data-driven experiences for employees and customers.
  • Connected data lets organizations identify patterns, correlations, and trends that may otherwise be missed and to act on ones that can make a difference in the business.

Connected Data Explained

Connected data refers to the concept of linking various pieces of data together so that they can be more easily analyzed and understood as a whole. The goal is to make the data picture more comprehensive and meaningful by creating a connected data ecosystem. Such an ecosystem lets applications that automate business processes in areas such as finance, HR, sales, and supply chain to share data with one another and to pull data from sources outside the company. For instance, in the context of inventory, a hardware retailer can connect supply data for shovels to snowfall forecasts to predict demand more accurately. Similarly, budgeting and financial forecasting data that’s connected to operational data such as inventory or purchase orders can offer new insights and help a business respond more effectively if product is moving off the shelves slower or faster than expected. As artificial intelligence grows in importance for this kind of analysis, connected data can help make sure the right data is used to train AI algorithms.

How Does Connected Data Work?

Connected data establishes relationships between different data assets across business systems and assigns properties to the various data elements—such as the type, format, or source of the data—to create a network of interconnected information. Some of the key technologies used to classify, organize, and connect data elements include data integration platforms, data warehouses, application programming interfaces, and machine learning algorithms. Once relationships are established, connected data lets employees traverse these associations to draw insights out of an overall data set, making it easier to analyze and understand.

Data ecosystems provide the technology hubs for managing connected data, enabling the integration of data drawn from disparate applications and other data sources. Connected data ecosystems include the enterprise infrastructure and applications used to connect, collect, and analyze information.

Learn why Oracle was recognized as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant™ for iPaaS, Worldwide for the sixth consecutive time.

Benefits of Connected Data

By using connected data, organizations have the potential to improve the performance of specific tasks and drive better overall business outcomes. Key benefits of connected data include:

  1. Improved decision-making: Connected data provides a more complete and accurate picture of the subject being analyzed, helping organizations make better-informed decisions. By integrating data from multiple sources and creating relationships between data points, organizations can identify patterns, anomalies, outliers, correlations, and trends that might otherwise be missed.
  2. Increased efficiency: Connected data makes it easier to access and analyze data, so employees spend less time hunting for data and building spreadsheets that house all the data pieces they need. Having connected data thus reduces the time and effort required to make informed decisions.
  3. Stronger data governance: Connecting data makes it possible to know where and how it originated and that it hasn’t been tampered with. This is especially important in regulated industries, where it’s necessary to prove the data’s lineage or provenance to guarantee integrity.

Connected Data Use Cases

The business use cases for connected data are almost limitless. Think of integrating application data to automate and improve lead scoring for a sales team, or making data more accessible for analytics used to look for growth opportunities. Here are some other examples of how connected data can be used to help break through solve operational bottlenecks, increase processes efficiency, and elevate customer or employee experiences.

  • Connecting data across on-premises and cloud environments, or between separate cloud environments, can help improve data visibility and enable greater agility and responsiveness.
  • Capturing data from multiple sources simultaneously and funneling that through a chatbot application can facilitate a simple response to a complex distributed data problem. For instance, a chatbot could access data from a sales system, a factory, and a third-party logistics company and tie all that data together to give a customer a precise delivery estimate.
  • A human resources application getting data in real time from a public data service such as LinkedIn could help a hiring manager see both internal and external candidates that are qualified for open roles.
  • A call center could grab and connect data from different systems, such as accounting, sales, inventory, and marketing to provide agents with a global view of data for improved customer service.

ROI of Connected Data

The return on investment (ROI) of connected data can be measured in multiple ways, including things such as smoother processes, better employee experiences, and greater customer satisfaction. Teams can sometimes point to hard numbers such as more transactions per hour or a reduction in the time it takes to gather information and run a report, which can drop from days to minutes in some cases. Another point to consider is that the “i” of investment in ROI isn’t necessarily big; teams might just need software that connects two vital data sources—say, linking a performance management platform with general ledgers from multiple regional or subsidiary operating units for a quicker financial close—and that won’t necessarily involve a major investment of project time or money.

Connected data also doesn’t have to be an enterprise-wide initiative to deliver benefits. In general, the strongest ROI from connected data comes from using interconnected data to achieve results such as increased efficiency, improved decision-making, and new business opportunities that drive growth and revenue. ROI also can be measured in the context of the speed and effort involved in creating deliverables such as reports, visualizations, AI and machine learning models, and other outputs that provide insights and value from existing, underutilized data.

Get Connected. Work in the Cloud with Oracle

Connected data is more necessary today than ever given the heightened pressure on analysts, managers, and executives to back up their decisions with hard data. The most successful organizations can pull together data from business systems, internal operations, supply chain, customer interactions, and outside sources to gain clear, accurate insights that help them spot growth opportunities, squash inefficiency, and make employees’ and customers’ lives easier.

Fortunately, intelligent data integration is much easier and faster in the cloud era. The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure integration product portfolio offers a comprehensive collection of data integration tools and application integration services that can help to automate end-to-end processes and centralize data management. With out-of-the box templates and adapters to connect nearly any data store, process, application, service, or API across modern and legacy systems, Oracle Integration offers innovative solutions for all types of application connection and process automation projects.

Learn how OCI integration solutions enhance collaboration, innovation, and value creation.

Connected Data FAQs

What’s driving business interest in connected data?

People in almost all areas of business, from the warehouse to the boardroom, are under growing pressure to back up their decisions with hard data. Connected data refers to linking various pieces of data together so that they can be analyzed and understood as a whole.

What is a connected data platform?

A connected data platform lets businesses to manage, store, and analyze data from multiple sources in a unified and integrated manner.

How does connected data help companies be more efficient?

Connected data makes it easier to access and analyze data, thereby reducing the time and effort required to make informed decisions.

Oracle has continued to deliver enhancements to its data integration tools, which is just one of the reasons why we have been recognized as a Leader for 14 consecutive years.