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Time to Rethink Data Infrastructure for Effective Digital Transformation


Despite significant investments in digital transformation initiatives, its impact has been underwhelming. Studies have also proved that 70 percent of digital transformation initiatives fail. One of the key reasons for digital transformation failure is old, legacy data architectures and relational databases that prevent IT and engineering teams to focus on the next generation of product, service or application. Touted as ‘innovation tax’ these clunky processes and outdated technologies are a burden for IT teams, making it harder for IT teams to produce high quality technology.

suvigInnovative companies like MongoDB help customers across various industries to adopt application data platform to speed up their digital transformation effort. In an exclusive interaction with CXOToday, Suvig Sharma, Regional Vice President, APAC, MongoDB, discusses how outdated data architecture that is creating ‘innovation tax’ is affecting the business outcome and how the company is helping its enterprise customers innovate faster to compete in today’s marketplace.

What are the segments that have and will continue to see massive uptake in data consumption in near future?

Industries like Healthcare, Financial Services, Education, Gaming, etc have seen massive growth in data consumption over the last two years due to the surge in online activities brought in by the pandemic. Talking about both sides of these industries, startups are always on the cutting edge, focused on technology and great customer experience, by using the latest tools.

On the other hand, traditional enterprises are committing much more effort and resources to ensure their services are up to the high digital expectations of modern consumers, without compromising on the security and trust that users require. While the internet has always been an ever-evolving platform the pandemic has created a significant rise in the number of users irrespective of the age who are now comfortable in using online platforms and there is no going back.

 What do you exactly mean by ‘Innovation Tax’? How is innovation tax affecting the business outcome?

In a digital-first economy, competitive advantage can’t be bought off the shelf. Your ability to compete is defined by how quickly you can build software and innovate using your most important asset — your data. As companies accelerate their digital transformations and create modern applications, they are often unintentionally creating or perpetuating a complex “spaghetti architecture” that requires time, money, and developers to maintain and manage. This growing complexity of the data infrastructure is a tax on innovation.

While trying to build their differentiation and address increasingly sophisticated application requirements and demanding customer expectations, companies are often forced to introduce numerous different data services. This is largely because they are hamstrung by the limitations of relational database systems, which still underpin most applications. There is a hidden, massive tax associated with this data architecture complexity that slows down developers and hinders innovation. MongoDB solves this with an application data platform that provides a consistent approach for working with any application anywhere.

What are the challenges in flushing this tax out?

As modern application data requirements become more demanding, it has become increasingly challenging to support those requirements with traditional data architectures. Most organizations are not able to keep their footprint small, and instead accumulate a sprawling architecture that becomes a drag on building applications and broader innovation. Recently, the problem of complexity in data architecture has become dramatically worse because expectations for an application’s functionality are so much higher. The ways in which we used data to build applications have changed over the years, but the typical data infrastructure hasn’t.

The other added complexity is brought in by cloud-based components. This holds true both for the applications that consumers use to interact with organizations and for the systems that keep an IT infrastructure functioning.

What can be the probable solutions to tackle Innovation Tax and how is MongoDB working towards it?

Successful organizations around the world that have excelled in building sustainable and scalable innovation have several similarities. They understand that the developers must be given liberty to function since they play a key role in the organization’s larger innovation agenda. Addressing the fact that tasks like database maintenance is a pure drudgery and provides no innovation value and moreover costs a hefty amount of resources is very critical. Hence it is essential to trust the developers when they say that they need to revamp an adjacent or dependent system to understand why it’s important.

Organizations of all sizes are beginning to realize the extent to which a needlessly complicated data architecture holds them back. The tax on innovation is a calling to both developers and IT decision makers to break down those barriers to growth and competitive advantage by working in partnership together. Businesses must address this head on and make substantial changes now – the longer innovation tax sticks around, the deeper in the mud a business will be.

MongoDB’s application data platform helps address that by offering an integrated suite of cloud database services that allow organizations to address a huge variety of use cases, from transactional to analytical, from search to data visualizations. And this is all built on the underlying document database which is the most powerful and intuitive way for developers to work with data.

What are your growth and expansion plans for the next 12-18 months?

We are witnessing massive adoption across the Indian market and therefore continue to expand to help fuel that growth in segments like game-tech, fintech, edutech, logistics, e-com and healthtech. We have hit a tipping point in maturity, where we’re seeing the traditional big organizations also shift to MongoDB to help them transform their businesses and stay apace with their competitors.

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Sohini Bagchi
Sohini Bagchi is Editor at CXOToday, a published author and a storyteller. She can be reached at