A Brief Guide to the Modern Data Stack: Why Is It Modern, Anyway?

A Brief Guide to the Modern Data Stack: Why Is It Modern, Anyway?

If you’re running or managing a business you may hear the word data stack over and over. It’s a bit of a buzz word in the modern business world, and for good reason. However, not everyone is totally sure of what exactly a data stack is. Technology is an integral aspect of operating any organization in the modern economy, and it likely isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, we’re more likely to see a further integration of technology into our everyday lives over the next few years. As such, understanding the role of technology and information in the context of a business is vital for any industry professional.

Data is one of the most important tools that any modern business or organization utilizes in their everyday operations. Data is also one of the most valuable currencies on the marketplace. Organizations track all sorts of consumer-data in order to inform marketing campaigns, build user profiles, and to deliver higher quality customer experiences. In order for this data to actually be of any use, though, organizations need to not only track and collect the data, but they also need to group, analyze, transform, and visualize this data to make it operable. 

Understanding What a Data Stack Is

The first thing to understand is what a data stack even is. Very simply put, the data stack is the various technologies and softwares that organizations put to use in order to operationalize their data. In other words, these are the softwares utilized in grouping, analyzing, transforming, and visualizing data. 

The various technologies involved in this process creates the data-stack. However, there’s more to it than that. Traditional data stacks are often reliant on a manual data-warehouse, or grouping of servers. This server-reliance was bulky, slow, and at times inefficient. Not only that, but there were other problems present in traditional data stacks as well. 

For instance, the entire process involved in data transformation, analysis, and visualization, was too slow to really be of any use to the marketing and advertising teams. Furthermore, when new technologies were introduced, these older systems relied on essentially software bandaids that were often incompatible. Needless to say, there were plenty of problems with the older data stack formula that innovators were eager to solve. 

Defining a Modern Data Stack

This brings us to the modern data stack. The modern data stack is designed to handle the same functions that traditional data stacks were intended for. In this way, a modern data stack also tackles the transferring, transformation, storage, analysis, and even visualization of data collected by an organization. The one key aspect that makes a data stack modern is that it’s linked to the cloud. Cloud-based services represent an elegant solution to many of the issues that older data stacks presented. Being linked to the cloud, various systems involved in the data analysis process are able to update instantaneously, and always be up-to-date with fresh information. 

On top of that, there are a number of other features and tools associated with a cloud based data stack that improve internal efficiencies and make everyone’s job easier. 

Common Data Stack Tools

There are a variety of cloud-based services that boast data stack capabilities. Additionally, just about every organization out there uses a different variety of products and services in order to create their modern data stack. As such, there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to a perfect modern data stack. 

However, there are plenty of shared features and tools that organizations typically include in their data stack. Enough so that they’re considered essential components of the modern data stack. 

These are features like data ingestion, a data warehouse, transformation tools, and an analytics tool as well. Modern versions of these tools are all cloud-based making it extremely easy for organizations to create a unique and seamless experience that fits their data needs specifically.

The Potential Power of Data

Data is one of the most valuable assets that an organization can collect. However, the raw data itself is rarely actionable. As such, it’s vital for modern organizations looking to stay competitive to make the most out of their data by building a modern data stack. 

Utilizing cloud-based data tools that help with the storage, transformation, and visualization of your data will only help improve business performance. 

Wrapping Up

The modern economy is dominated by a digital and virtual landscape. Consumers live and exist in just about every corner of the internet. Brands that want to reach and connect with these consumers need to understand what drives them, what motivates them, and their buying habits. All of these secrets are hidden in the data, and can be found with the right combination of data stack tools.