The typical Fortune 500 company today has terabytes of unstructured data that are collected at any given time. They have 1000’s of database servers and 1000’s of mini databases within those servers, in the form of files that lie within business intelligence (BI) tools like excel sheets, text files, as well as XML and JSON files. The four V’s (volume, variety, veracity, and velcoity) is a great way to describe the specific attributes that define big data collection today. “Data Lakes” were developed as a repository to house all of this unstructured and unorganized raw data. The original semantic data layer was developed as a solution technology placed on top of a database and organize and help makes sense of all of that data. “One of the keys to taking unstructured data—audio, video, images, unstructured text, events, tweets, wikis, forums and blogs—and extracting useful data from it is to create a semantic data model” (2) This technology has been around for the last decade or so, but originally was tailored to serve specific BI tools and often created siloed data repositories. These silos restricted analysts from accessing certain data on a comprehensive level.
Obviously this is a huge problem for organizations because it prevents comprehensive data driven strategies from being developed. This is where the universal semantic data layer comes in, which when applied to the data lake, can unify a organization’s data and enhance the overall BI strategy. “A universal semantic data layer is a single business representation of all corporate data. It aims to help end users access all corporate data using common business terms via the business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools of their choice.”(3)
Lastly the universal semantic data layer with its new improvements and advances is very critical in today’s data driven business world. It allows better comprehension of data across all business units within the organization, but also improves the data security because it’s all connected through a layer under a single data lake. “By minimizing data movement and the creation of multiple copies of data throughout the enterprise… the universal semantic data layer allows you to simplify and better secure your infrastructure.”(3)
The universal semantic data layer is a tool that can streamline data analysis, and with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) possibly going global, it also creates value and trust in a organizations data that could be marketed and monetized.